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Chambliss: Cuts to Ag deep but 'fair'

Georgia Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, told area farmers to brace for cuts to the Department of Agriculture budget as Washington seeks to close a trillion-dollar deficit.

Georgia Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, told area farmers to brace for cuts to the Department of Agriculture budget as Washington seeks to close a trillion-dollar deficit.

TIFTON, Ga. — Speaking to a room full of farmers and agribusiness leaders, Georgia’s senior U.S. senator, Saxby Chambliss, R- Moultrie, said that agriculture wouldn’t be and shouldn’t be exempt from attempts by the federal government to shrink the national deficit.

“From the Agriculture perspective ... when the super committee met back in the fall, the number $23 billion was asked of agriculture and we responded, because I think that’s a fair figure, provided that folks in other aspects of the federal government do the same thing. And we’re going to demand that.”

That $23 billion over the next 10 years will be stripped from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and specifically put toward reducing the U.S. deficit, Chambliss said.

“It’s important that we make sure that the money that is being cut go directly to addressing this deficit,” Chambliss said. “It doesn’t need to go back to Congress for us to spend on something else.”

While farmers will deal with perennial challenges associated with actually growing their crops and the associated market challenges, many experts believe times are pretty good for many farmers across the nation.

The United States continues to be the world’s No. 1 exporter of agricultural products and commodities, which is helping to keep the prices higher for American farmers.

“Agriculture remains the one bright light when it comes to the trade policy in the country,” Chambliss said. “We continue to have a surplus in agriculture which means we’re exporting more agriculture than we’re importing...that’s a really good sign.

“Eighty percent of the cotton grown in Georgia today goes to China. A significant number of our pecans are going to China and that’s keeping prices at a pretty good level.”

Still, changes to the federal farm programs are coming, Chambliss says, most notably in a few key ways.

Firstly, the direct payment system that has aided farmers for decades according to their base acreage is going away, he says.

Also, because of international lawsuits brought by Brazil and others, the STEP-2 program is going away, and much of the country’s traditional cotton program is being remolded into something different.

“We’re going for something more revenue based...more of an insurance-like program for cotton,” Chambliss said. “That’s going to be a change for farmers.”

Chambliss wasn’t the only person in Tifton Friday talking about changes to the farm bill.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told those in attendance that agriculture faces big challenges as the federal and state governments cope with the lingering effects of the recession and financial crisis.

“We have serious financial issues in our country right now and agriculture is going to have to be part of the effort to get things right and moving forward,” Black said. “But what we have to constantly remind people, however, is that we don’t want America to balance its financial situation on the backs of the farmers who are already pulling the load.”

Black also reminded those in attendance that 80 percent of the farm bill goes to social programs that he said are not directly related to farm programs.

Comments

reb_arty1863 2 years, 1 month ago

with representation for farmers like saxby's.......why worry about obama????

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whattheheck 2 years, 1 month ago

Black says 80 percent of the farm money goes to social programs not directly related to farm programs. Well gee, Saxby, you forgot to mention that little fact! Why does the state ag commissioner have to being this little fact forward rather than you? If this is the case, why haven't you pushed for cuts before now? I've lost count, is it time for reelection?

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 1 month ago

Chambliss is doing the right thing. It's what we need from EVERY congressman, EVERY representative, EVERY senator. I can only pray that they would all be as courageous as Chambliss. 16 Trillion in debt and counting.............averaging 1.4 Trillion every year since Obama. His Royal Highness's new budget is over a Trillion dollars over income. Lord Help Us!

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logmoinfo 2 years ago

"Make sure the $23B goes to the deficit"? Hellooo. It's not his money. It's taxpayer money and we'll spend it as we see fit. This farm welfare has gone on so long he actually thinks he is entitled to it. He is a main reason Washington does not get it. Follow the money. See who pads his contribution account? Yes, the same folks he votes to give welfare checks to. It's an endless cycle and these payments to millionaires and billionaires must stop. If you can't farm and make a profit you need to do something else. "But you won't have food if not for subsidies" Hellooo. I don't eat cotton. When is the last time your wife ordered you to go back to the store because you forgot to buy peanuts? They hide behind the threat of National Security to justify raking in billions. They have no shame as they get in their new 4WD, 4mpg F350 that takes up 3 parking spaces and drive to their 5k sq ft house on 1,000+ acres to get in their housewife's 6mpg Suburban and go to the condo at Hilton Head. I've had enough. I know them. I know their mailbox game. Farm. Make a profit. Or find something you can do. Google the Farm Subsidy Database on the Environmental Working Group website and find your poor farming neighbors and relatives. Prepare to be shocked. Help hardworking Americans stop this ripoff

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