August 08, 2006

Idahoans Can Help Shape New Farm Bill

Crapo will chair field hearing August 11 on U of I campus

Moscow â?? The testimony of Idahoans on farm policy will be included as Congress gathers input across the nation through more than a dozen field hearings regarding the next farm bill. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization, will conduct a field hearing Friday, August 11th, in Moscow regarding federal farm policy.The hearing begins at 9:00 a.m. at the University of Idahoâ??s Menard Law Building. It will feature testimony from a number of Idaho interests from production agriculture to those who run Idahoâ??s food banks.â??Idahoâ??s agricultural diversity is remarkable,â?? Crapo said. â??With more than 25,000 farmers and ranchers in Idaho producing more than 140 commodities, Idaho has an important voice to lend in writing the next farm bill,â?? Crapo said. â??We will hear from witnesses representing various Idaho agricultural sectors, from conservationists, the Nez Perce Tribe, rural development advocates and nutrition groups.â??Crapo calls the Farm Bill â??one of the most significant economic and environmental public policy initiatives in our nation,â?? but added it is being debated as the nationâ??s financial picture is changing. He said factors from world trade to federal budget constraints will play a role in the new farm bill. â??The 2002 Farm Bill was written at a time when our nation was anticipating a significant budget surplus. Then, costs of domestic terrorism and natural disaster recovery changed the pictureâ??with increased government spending and contributing to a temporary slump in the U.S. economy,â?? Crapo said. â??While the economy is steadily recovering, we must be very prudent with federal spending.â??â??However, it remains clear that producers must have a proper safety net, broader foreign market access, and assistance with meeting the increased demands on our natural resources,â?? Crapo added. â??The bottom line is we need to ensure that federal farm policy addresses the needs and complexities of agriculture while continuing to enable farmers and ranchers to provide a safe and abundant food supply, strengthening our rural communities and businesses, and supporting the stewardship of our rural lands. This is no small task.â??The hearing record will stay open for five business days past the Moscow event this Friday. Interested parties can send formal comments to Robert Sturm, Chief Clerk, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Room 328-A, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510-6000. Informal comments can be sent to Crapoâ??s website at https://www.crapo.senate.gov and the Senate Agriculture Committeeâ??s website at http://www.agriculture.senate.gov. Witness ListSenate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and ForestrySubcommittee on Forestry, Conservation and Rural RevitalizationFarm Bill Field HearingFriday, August 11, 20069:00 AM to 12:00 PMUniversity of IdahoMenard Law Building6th and Rayburn StreetsMoscow, IdahoPanel IMr. Tim DillinVice-PresidentIdaho Grain Producers of IdahoPorthill, IDMr. Jim EvansChairman USA Dry Pea and Lentil CouncilIdaho Dry Pea and Lentil Commission Genesee, IDMr. Mike QuesnellPresidentIdaho Dairymenâ??s AssociationTwin Falls, ID Mr. Keith EsplinExecutive DirectorPotato Growers of IdahoBlackfoot, ID Panel II Mr. Kyle HawleyPresidentIdaho Association of Soil Conservation DistrictsMoscow, ID Mr. Lloyd KnightExecutive DirectorIdaho Cattle AssociationRoberts, IDMr. Laird NohTrusteeThe Nature Conservancy of IdahoKimberly, IDMs. Rebecca MilesChairmanNez Perce TribeLapwai, ID Mr. Terry MansfieldDeputy DirectorIdaho Department of Fish and GameOn Behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife AgenciesBoise, IDPanel IIIDr. Gregory BohachAssociate DeanCollege of Agricultural and Life SciencesUniversity of IdahoMoscow, ID Ms. Lorraine RoachBoard MemberIdaho Rural PartnershipGrangeville, IDMs. Christine FreiExecutive DirectorClearwater Economic Development AssociationLewiston, IDMr. Roger SimonExecutive DirectorThe Idaho Food BankBoise, ID# # #