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USMEF Among Ag Industry Leaders Urging Rapid Farm Bill Approval

USMEF Among Ag Industry Leaders Urging Rapid Farm Bill Approval USMEF is one of 235 U.S. agriculture organizations that have banded together to urge the House of Representatives’ leadership to act swiftly in the lame duck legislative session and approve a new five-year Farm Bill.

The agriculture groups are calling on House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) to move quickly to create consensus for approval of this legislation that affects all segments of U.S. agriculture.

The letter (below) is supported by a broad assortment of industry associations and organizations in addition to USMEF, including a number of FAS cooperators, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union and the American Sheep Industry Association.

“The Farm Bill is critical for all of American agriculture, and for USMEF in particular it provides the legal authority for the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program as well as the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS),” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Until a new Farm Bill is in place, lacking the authority to commit MAP and FMD funds is creating challenges for USMEF in the day-to-day delivery of our programs. This, in turn, is having a direct impact on USMEF’s ability to effectively further the interests of the beef, pork and lamb industries in the export markets.”

Seng also noted that FAS, the USDA agency that administers both the MAP and FMD programs and is USMEF’s governmental partner in supporting and enhancing U.S. red meat exports, is facing severe budget pressure and operational limitations that are reducing the agency’s ability to provide its extensive range of services. Already, FAS has stopped all non-essential domestic and international travel.

Of course the impact of a delayed Farm Bill has implications beyond the red meat industry. For some industries, like the American corn and soybean sectors, the impact is a double blow as both direct grain and oilseed exports will be affected as well as their value-added exports through red meat. In 2011, an estimated 450 million bushels of corn and 85 million bushels of soybeans were exported through U.S. beef, pork and lamb, supporting record red meat exports valued at $11.5 billion.

USMEF is encouraging its members, who represent the breadth of the U.S. red meat industry, to utilize their network of contacts in Washington to urge lawmakers to adopt a Farm Bill with full funding for the MAP and FMD programs. Both the full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee on Agriculture already have passed versions of a new Farm Bill that funds the MAP and FMD programs at the levels in the 2000 Farm Bill. Now the full House of Representatives needs to take action on the version of the bill that was adopted earlier this year by the Agriculture Committee.

An online sheet of message points addresses the importance of the Farm Bill to U.S. agriculture for supporting exports and job creation in the United States. USMEF will provide updates on the Farm Bill and MAP/FMD funding as they become available.

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November 13, 2012

The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker The Honorable Eric Cantor, Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol H-329, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Minority Whip
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol H-148, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer:

The undersigned organizations, representing the farming, livestock, specialty crop, feed, rural development, nutrition, health, conservation, woodland owners, municipalities, trade, manufacturing, agricultural research, crop insurance and renewable energy communities, respectfully request passage of a new five-year farm bill to be signed into law before the end of the legislative session in December 2012.

This legislation is of paramount importance to the diverse, bipartisan constituencies our organizations represent. Failure to pass a new five-year farm bill before the year’s end will create significant budget uncertainty for the entire agricultural sector, including the rural businesses and lenders whose livelihoods are dependent upon farmers’ and livestock producers’ economic viability.

Additionally, our country is recovering from the largest drought since the 1930s, with most of the counties across the nation being declared agricultural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at some point during 2012, and 55 percent of the nation’s pasture and rangeland rated in poor to very poor condition. This year alone, several states have ranked in the driest third percentile on record. These historic conditions and their damaging economic effects cannot be ignored.

For these reasons, we stand united in our strong support for a new five-year bill; any temporary extension would be a short-sighted, inadequate solution that would leave our constituencies crippled by uncertainty. Both the Senate and the House Committee on Agriculture passed versions of a five-year farm bill with strong bipartisan support. We urge you to lead your colleagues in passing a new 2012 Farm Bill this year. We thank you for your consideration.


25x’25 Alliance
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Advanced Biofuels USA
Ag Energy Coalition
Agricultural Retailers Association
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance of Forest Workers and Harvesters
American Agriculture Movement
American Association of Avian Pathologists
American Association of Bovine Practitioners
American Association of Crop Insurers
American Beekeeping Federation
American Biogas Council
American Coalition for Ethanol
American Corn Growers Institute for Public Policy
American Farmland Trust
American Feed Industry Association
American Forest Foundation American Forests
American Honey Producers Association
American Horse Council
American Nursery & Landscape Association
American Pulse Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Sheep Industry Association
American Society of Agronomy
American Soybean Association
American Sugar Alliance
American Veterinary Medical Association
Associated Milk Producers, Inc.
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Audubon Society of New Hampshire
Basin Electric Power Cooperative
Bedminster Regional Land Conservancy
Berkshire Co-op Market
Berkshire Grown
Bio Feedstock Industry Association
Biomass Power Association
Bird’s Haven Farms
Blue Diamond Growers
California Apple Commission
California Association of Winegrape Growers
California Blueberry Commission
California Cherry Export Association
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Fresh Tomato Growers
California Grape and Tree Fruit League
California Pear Growers
California Table Grape Commission
California Water Environment Association
Center for Rural Affairs
Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy
Cherry Marketing Institute, Inc.
Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Columbia Land Trust
The Conservation Fund
Crop Science Society of America
Cumberland Land Trust
Doug Goehring, North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture
East Quabbin Land Trust
Ecological Farming Association
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Environmental Defense Fund
Exergy Integrated Systems
Fair Food Network
Family Dairies USA
Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.
Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS)
The Fertilizer Institute
Gardening the Community
Garrison Diversion Conservancy District
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Great Peninsula Conservancy
Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter Buy Fresh Buy Local
Growth Energy
Hartford Food System, Inc.
Hmong National Development, Inc.
Hungry Hollow Co-op
Idaho Dairymen’s Association
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)
Indian Nations Conservation Alliance
Indian River Citrus League
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
International Biochar Initiative
Intervale Center
Izaak Walton League of America
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey
Land O’Lakes
Land Stewardship Project
Land Trust Alliance
Livestock Marketing Association
Lodi Winegrape Commission
The Lyme Timber Company
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maine Rural Partners
Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society
Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers
Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions
The Massachusetts Farm to School Project
Michigan Apple Association
Midwest Dairy Coalition
Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals (MDA) Multistate Initiative
National Aquaculture Association
National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science (NAAAS)
National Association of Clean Water Agencies
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Farmer Elected Committees
National Association of Federal Veterinarians
National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils
National Association of State Conservation Agencies
National Association of State Foresters
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Barley Growers Association
National Berry Crops Initiative
National Biodiesel Board
National Cooperative Business Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Council of Agricultural Employers
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Farm to School Network
National Farmers Organization
National Farmers Union
National Grange
National Grape & Wine Initiative
National Milk Producers Federation
National Potato Council
National Renderers Association
National Sunflower Association
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
National Watermelon Association
National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wildlife Federation
National Women in Agriculture Association
National Woodland Owners Association
National Young Farmers Coalition
Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project
Nature Abounds
The Nature Conservancy
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
Neighboring Food Co-op Association
New Hampshire Institute of Agriculture and Forestry
New Mexico Acequia Association
New York Wine & Grape Foundation
NOFA Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)
North Dakota Agricultural Aviation Association
North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts
North Dakota Corn Growers Association
North Dakota Farm Credit Council
North Dakota Pork Council
North Dakota Soybean Growers Association
Northarvest Bean Growers Association
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
Northeast States Association for Agricultural Stewardship
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)
Northern Plains Potato Growers Association
Northern Pulse Growers Association
Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold
Northwest Horticultural Council
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Ohio Soybean Association
Orange County Land Trust
Oregon Association of Nurseries
Oregon Winegrowers Association
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Valley
Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas
Peconic Land Trust
Pet Food Institute
Pheasants Forever
Pollinator Partnership
Produce Marketing Association
Quails Forever
Renewable Fuels Association
Repreve Renewables, LLC
Rhode Island Rural Development Council
Rooted in Community
RRGB Shipman Farm
Rural Advancement Fund of the National Share Croppers Fund
Rural Coalition
Rural Community Assistance Partnership
Rural Development Leadership Network RuralVotes
School Food FOCUS National Office
Seacoast Eat Local
Slow Food USA
Society for Range Management
Society of American Florists
Soil and Water Conservation Society
Soil Science Society of America
South Dakota Wind Energy Association
South East Dairy Farmers Association
Southern Forest Products Association
Spartanburg Water
Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance
SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association
State Agriculture and Rural Leaders
Sun-Maid Growers of California
Swan Conservation Trust
Texas International Produce Association
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Three Valley Conservation Trust
The Trust for Public Land
Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust
USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
U.S. Apple Association
US Canola Association
US Composting Council
U.S. Dairy Export Council
US Dry Bean Council
U.S. Meat Export Federation
United Dairymen of Arizona
United Egg Producers
United Fresh Produce Association
United States Cattlemen’s Association
Vermont Land Trust
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers
Washington State Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Washington State Potato Commission
Weeks Bay Foundation
Western Growers
Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
Wine Institute
Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE)

cc: U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives