AFIA addresses 2007 Farm Bill
Joel Newman, president of the American Feed Industry
Association (AFIA) has sent a letter to the chairman of the House
Agriculture Committee, expressing his concern on a number of issues related to
the 2007 Farm Bill.
Among the issues addressed in the letter are corporate competition, animal
welfare, alternatives to corn-based ethanol, and a permanent disaster
Legislation has been
introduced to limit or end certain contract arrangements between companies and
In addition to curtailing contracting, specifically packer
ownership of livestock, bills have been introduced to specify what can be
included in contracts.
AFIA asks the House Agriculture Committee (HAC) to
support free-market competition and oppose any efforts to restrict farmers'
rights to enter into private contracts with grain or meat
Congress should not mandate the terms of a contract between
private parties negotiated in good faith. The creation of a USDA special counsel
to oversee mergers and acquisitions is unnecessary.
Leave out animal
AFIA opposes the inclusion of an animal welfare title in
the Farm Bill as unnecessary and believes federal food purchasing already
reflect animal welfare as an intrinsic part of US production.
rights activists have asked both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to
include a first-time "animal welfare" title. Items to be included are:
food purchasing "welfare" standards;
- A ban on stalls and stanchions;
- A ban on
all "downed" livestock for slaughter no matter the reason;
- A ban on low-level
antibiotic use on farms;
- A transport regulation (all animals, all conveyances,
- A ban on packer ownership of livestock;
- Spot market livestock
purchasing requirements; and
- Shift concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO)
programs to "incentive" programs to go organic/natural.
Alternatives to corn-based ethanol
In the food-feed-fuel debate AFIA supports farm-based
fuel development, including research into feedstocks that will replace over time
traditional feed ingredients used to produce farm-based fuels, including a focus
on cellulosic ethanol production and the use of animal-based feedstocks to
At the same time, AFIA strongly supports adjustments to existing
acreage conservation programs to ensure only truly environmentally fragile lands
are idled, and farmers currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program
(CRP) would be allowed to opt out of the CRP without penalty.
Permanent disaster program
AFIA supports the
creation of a permanent USDA disaster assistance program for farmers and
ranchers, provided such system fully integrates or at least does not
discriminate against the commercial feed industry, in the distribution of
assistance to farmers and ranchers.
AFIA supports approaches to disaster
assistance that provides payments to producers to offset losses and maintain
commercial feed purchases.
AFIA questions the viability of using surplus
commodities purchased by USDA as a component of any disaster assistance program
and requests that this not be included in any permanent disaster program
included in the Farm Bill.
Related websites: AFIA
and Farm Bill 2007
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