WASHINGTON, D.C., March 15 – Recent action taken by members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation drew the full support of the National Cotton Council.
The delegation registered its opposition to the controversial Grassley-Dorgan amendment that would limit benefits to farmers as the House and Senate conference committee began debating new farm legislation.
"We urge you to work to ensure that the provisions of the Grassley-Dorgan amendment are not included in the final farm bill conference report," the delegation stated in a letter to House conferees Larry Combest, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and the committee’s ranking member, Charles Stenholm (D-TX).
Signed by Reps. John Cooksey, Chris John, David Vitter, Billy Tauzin, Jim McCrery and Richard Baker, the letter stated, "The provisions of the amendment would effectively deny essential financial assistance to most farming operations in Louisiana when prices are low."
Introduced by Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, the amendment, part of the Senate-passed farm bill, would dramatically affect commercial-sized sunbelt farmers because it would sharply limit program benefits during times of depressed prices, the primary reason for new legislation the letter noted.
"The issues raised in the Grassley-Dorgan amendment were discussed and rejected during the House deliberations," the Congressmen said. "We urge you and your colleagues to retain the House provisions on payment eligibility and limitations in the final conference report."
The Congressmen stated "it would be highly discriminatory for Louisiana producers to be penalized because Congress decides to create a one-size fits all limitation on eligibility for benefits based on an arbitrary selected acreage or faulty perception of what constitutes a ‘family’ farm."
The conference committee is racing to complete its report before Congress adjourns March 23 for the Easter recess.