The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), recently presented its proposed comprehensive farm bill initiative, "The Family Farm Agriculture Recovery and Maintenance Act" (F.A.R.M. Act), to the House Agriculture Committee.

"The F.A.R.M. Act is a long-term plan designed to benefit farmers," says ACGA president Keith Dittrich of Tilden, NE.

"This formal proposal follows over eighteen months of grassroots development by ACGA, thorough analysis of 25 years of historic data and expert analysis by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center at the University of Tennessee," he adds.

The F.A.R.M. Act would retain many of the current farm bill components, including planting flexibility and non-recourse marketing assistance. It would allow for increasing the statutory acreage CRP cap from 36.4 million acres to at least 40 million acres. The measure would give the Secretary of Agriculture power to reinstate the Farmer Owned Reserve and provide for additional grain reserves for the nation’s strategic energy needs, such as ethanol and bio-diesel. Other authority, which would be extended to the secretary, would be to implement a voluntary, flexible fallow, supply management program based on a producer’s establish Tillable Acreage Base.

"The F.A.R.M. Act would not rely on Agriculture Marketing Transition Act (AMTA) payments, which are currently paid to individuals based on antiquated yield histories from the early 1980s and planting histories from the early 1990s, nor the unpredictability of supplemental AMTA payments," adds Dittrich.

In exchange, the F.A.R.M. Act would enhance the marketing assistance loan rate to more equitably reflect decreases in farmers’ buying power because of inflation as well as increases in productivity. The estimated loan rate for corn under the plan would be about $3.15/bu. This compares to the current five-year average (adjusted for inflation) effective safety net for corn (loan rate plus AMTA payments) of $2.62/bu.

To encourage more competition from the commodity-buying sector of the industry, the Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) option under the current marketing assistance loan program would also be eliminated under the plan. Farmers would, however, have the full protection of the new loan rate.

For a thorough explanation of the bill, the historic data used in its development and the full congressional testimony, visit the ACGA Web site – ACGA.org – or call 202-835-0330. Or for a direct link, click on: http://www.acga.org/farmact2001/testimonies-statements/.