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Family Farm Advocates Slam Federal Farm & Trade Policy

From: THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER
July 12, 2005, Issue #413
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
>From a Public Interest Perspective

EDITOR\PUBLISHER; A.V. Krebs
E-MAIL: avkrebs at earthlink.net
WEB SITE: http://www.ea1.com/CARP/
TO RECEIVE: Send name and address

IOWA FARM LEADERS CHARGE
AG POLICY GOALS MUST BENEFIT
CONSUMERS AND FARMERS, NOT
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS

Future U.S. Farm Bills and trade agreements must drastically change if
consumers and family farmers are to benefit, according to a group of Iowa
family farmers who met Thursday night.

Their public forum coincided with a Tennessee-based national broadcast
convened by USDA Secretary Mike Johanns. Speakers at the Ames meeting said
that the USDA meeting agenda clearly demonstrated the Administration's bias
toward
maintaining policies which profit multinational corporations instead of the
public
good.

"You can't talk about the U.S. Farm Bill without confronting head on the
role of multinational corporations and how they dominate farm and trade
policy," said George Naylor, Churdan farmer, National Family Farm Coalition
President
and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) member.

"It is ludicrous for Secretary Johanns to claim he's holding a meaningful
discussion
on farm policy when he excludes the impact of the WTO and other trade
agreements that pit family farmers around the world against each other for
the
benefit of multinational corporations."

"We are losing our quality of life because of corporate monopolies and
concentration," added Chris Petersen, President of the Iowa Farmers Union,
who farms near Clear Lake.

"The new Farm Bill could be a golden opportunity to change directions, and
we have specific policy proposals that would return profitability to the
family farm sector of agriculture. The current policies, which promote more
production using fewer farmers, are destroying our rural communities."

Dennis Olson, Trade Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy
gave a presentation showing the dismal ten-year track record of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and recent export-oriented U.S. Farm
Bills.

"The U.S. is projected to become a net importer of agricultural products for
the first time since 1959," Olson said. "Obviously the promises made a
decade ago that U.S. farmers would export their way to prosperity have
proven false. It's time to rethink and consider viable alternatives as we
begin the debate over the next farm bill."

Olson also presented highlights of two recently published reports from his
institute that document threats posed by the pending Central American Free
Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to U.S. sugar and ethanol production. Olson said
CAFTA would expand the failed NAFTA model to Central America and should be
defeated. CAFTA is scheduled for a July vote in the U.S. House of
Representatives.

"Look at the winners of the current system: Cargill, ADM, and Smithfield,"
said
Larry Ginter, a farmer from Rhodes, and a member of Iowa CCI.

"The people with power who negotiate these farm bills and trade agreements
should look out for the public interest, not just corporate interests.
That's why there must be a place at the policy table for grassroots
organizations that truly represent family
farmers, workers, and others who have a stake in healthy, sustainable
agriculture and communities."

The Ames farm and trade policy meeting was sponsored by the Iowa Farmers
Union; Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; Women, Food, and Agriculture
Network; Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter; and the National Family Farm Coalition.
[ July 7, 2005 ]