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Connor says don’t lead with “I’m sorry” in Farm Bill debate

The 2018 Farm Bill debate is heating up and a former deputy ag secretary is telling Rural America to hold its ground.

Chuck Connor is the president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.  He says farmers can’t afford to lose their safety net.  “Well I think there is a tendency to go in in tough times and kind of wring your hands and say ‘I’m sorry we’re asking for this I realize it is tough times for the country’,” he says.  “And literally almost lead with that kind of apology.  My message to farm country all winter is don’t do that.”

He says agriculture has already voluntarily reformed farm programs and now is not the time to allow more budget cuts.  “No other program has done that voluntarily,” he says.  “We did so voluntarily.  Now that the time of need has arisen – don’t apologize for saying this is not the time for coming and asking for more from us.  We need what we’ve got.  We made those changes back in 1981.”

Connor says by comparison, one year of the commodity program in the 1981 Farm Bill cost more than 35-billion dollars.  The cost of the commodity title in the 2014 Farm Bill is about 44-billion-dollars over 10 years.

He made his remarks at the National Farmers Union annual meeting in San Diego.

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