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- Editor's Note -

Mr. President,
Don’t Forget Farmers

By Tommy Horton

By the time you read this column, our country will have a new president, House of Representatives and several senators. It will be time to put a long election year behind us and get ready to deal with a global financial crisis, two wars, energy challenges, health care, world trade and the list goes on and on.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election, our request is simple and pretty straightforward for the person who will occupy the White House, beginning on Jan. 21, 2009. In fact, our wish list is almost identical to what we might have requested in previous years. No, this isn’t to be confused with what children ask of Santa Claus each year, but it’s starting to feel the same way. Hopefully, somebody at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hears us.

We ask that the new president not forget farmers in this country and somehow understand that agriculture is a vital part of the United States economy, not to mention our national security. There it is. One simple sentence, but it sums up what every farmer wants from this new administration.

In no particular order, we’d like to pass along other suggestions.

• Let the new Farm Bill be implemented in a fair and orderly way without any surprises that go against the spirit of the law.

• Don’t view farm programs as corporate welfare. Our farmers need every available tool to compete in a global arena where other countries are trying to shut down U.S. agriculture and take us back to the Stone Age.

• Don’t allow U.S. negotiators to agree to any deal in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round that doesn’t allow fair and equal access to overseas markets.

• Take a refresher course on how much it costs U.S. farmers to compete today – especially in the area of skyrocketing input costs.

• Take a look at what has happened to the U.S. textile industry. Despite assurances from Congress, our manufacturing sector has nearly disappeared. Let’s try to avoid letting this happen again.

If these suggestions don’t resonate with you, Mr. President, consider this option. Take a trip to the San Joaquin Valley, Texas High Plains, Mid-South or Southeast and spend an afternoon walking the turnrow with John Pucheu, Rickey Bearden, Kenneth Hood, Jay Hardwick, Bob McLendon or David Burns.

These farmers will be happy to tell you how they are surviving in today’s ag environment – despite incredibly difficult challenges. The new Farm Bill will help. But farmers need the support of our nation’s new leadership.

If you need more clarification, just call us.

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to: thorton@onegrower.com.

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