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In This Issue
On With Harvest
Hurricanes, Tropical Storms Hurt And Helped Cotton
Congress Introduces Bills On Farm Labor
USDA To Help Create Rural Jobs
Veteran Consultants Have Seen It All
New Mexico Supports Glandless Cotton Research
Success In South Texas
Energy Mandates Cause Rush For Farmland
U.S. Can Solve Financial Problems
Web Poll: Drought Breaks Records, Tests Spirits
Cotton's Agenda
USDA, FDA Offer Flood Relief To Farmers
What Customers Want
Editor's Note
Cotton Consultants Corner
Cotton Ginners Marketplace
Industry News
My Turn: Texas Tough

U.S. Can Solve Financial Problems

By Bob Stallman
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The U.S. economy has taken a hit recently. The unemployment rate stands at nine percent, our country's credit rating was just downgraded from AAA to AA+, the national debt is at an all-time high, and lawmakers can't seem to agree on the best way to get us out of this financial hole.

The current situation affects all Americans, whether they're farmers, teachers, wait staff or construction foremen. No one is immune. But, our country has been at the bottom of the financial barrel before and pulled itself up by the bootstraps. With some perseverance, consensus and common sense – we can again.

Make It Meaningful

While the debt ceiling bill that President Obama signed will keep our nation moving forward, it's now in the hands of the congressional deficit re-duction "super committee" to find ways to reduce our annual deficit spending.

Like most Americans, Farm Bureau wants to see a meaningful reduction in our deficit and put the country back on track to fiscal soundness. We support the need for deficit reduction and tackling the nation's rising debt. Agriculture will do its part toward this end, but reductions need to be made wisely.

It is likely that any comprehensive plan to reduce deficit spending will include cuts in programs that assist farmers, ranchers and communities in rural America. But, as Farm Bill expenditures in this country represent less than one-half of one percent of the federal budget, balancing the budget or resolving the nation's financial woes can't be accomplished by focusing on agriculture or by disproportionately cutting agriculture funding.

Reduce Wisely

When it comes to tightening the budget, U.S. farm policy has already led the way. In contrast to other programs, the cost of farm policy has sharply decreased over the past 10 years, is consistently under budget and has been the subject of three separate rounds of cuts in the past six years, totaling roughly $15 billion in savings. Agriculture has always contributed to deficit reduction in the past when called upon.

Farm Bureau will work with the House and Senate agriculture committees as they develop a blueprint for agriculture spending. Our goal will be to retain the integrity of the farm programs that serve America's farm and ranch families. Our priority is to have enough money left to write a viable Farm Bill that ensures an effective safety net for America's farm and ranch families, furthers research, provides conservation measures and secures the nation's food supply.

Getting back on financial track will require everyone to buckle down on spending. Working together, pulling up those bootstraps, we can do this.

Bob Stallman is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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