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Spellmire, Thomas C., corn, wheat, soybean producer, Lebanon, OH-Contin-
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Anderson, Paul H., Moores Hill, IN
APRIL 3, KUTZTOWN, PA
Illinois, opening statement
nesota, opening statement
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Michael, James R., cattle, grain producer, Berkeley Springs, WV-Continued
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ment is on file with the committee.)
APRIL 12, 2000
of Georgia, prepared statement
opening statement Smith, Hon. Nick, a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan,
prepared statement Stenholm, Hon. Charles W., a Representative in Congress from the State
of Texas, opening statement
International Trade and Agricultural Policy Committee, National Grain
Courtland, AL, on behalf of National Cotton Ginners Association; South-
Prepared statement Johnson, Allen, president, National Oilseed Processors Association, Washington, DC
REVIEW OF FEDERAL FARM POLICY
MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2000
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Lubbock, TX The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:00 a.m., at the Civic Center Banquet Hall, Lubbock, TX, Hon. Larry Combest (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Barrett, Boehner, Lucas of Oklahoma, Simpson, Stenholm, and Boswell.
Also present: Representative Thornberry.
Staff present: William E. O'Conner, Jr., staff director; Alan Mackey, senior professional staff; Jeff Harrison, associate counsel; Keith Williams, communications director; Wanda Worsham, chief clerk; and Russell Middleton, minority consultant.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. LARRY COMBEST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
The CHAIRMAN. In keeping with the tradition that we have tried to established on the hearings and meetings of the House Agriculture Committee, we will try again to start this one on time. And let me say to all of you who have come out today, thank you very much for your interest and for your attendance, both those of you who are here as well as those who are the Members of Congress who are here.
I want to take for just a moment, as always, the opportunity to thank some people. In doing so, you always leave some out, but I will run that risk this morning. There have been a few who have been particularly and especially helpful to the setting up of this hearing here in Lubbock, and I want to thank the city of Lubbock for all of their courtesies, certainly for the use of this facility, particularly Ron Lewis who is here.
Ron Lewis has worked many, many hours to put this together, the Lubbock City Council, certainly, and the mayor. And I want to recognize Sheriff David Gutierrez, who has been extremely helpful with assistance in getting us around in Lubbock and his office.
Good morning and welcome to this first of 10 hearings that the House Agriculture Committee will hold in different regions of the country over the next couple of months. I want to thank again everyone for coming to this important event, and I want to thank my colleagues, our members who are here that are taking their time away from their families, away from their districts, but that show an interest in this effort and coming to my hometown of Lubbock, TX.
Today we plan to hear from 19 people who have built their life around the great sustaining and sometimes excruciating industry of agriculture. We have sought to bring folks representing the different types of agriculture in this great southwest region of the United States and representing a variety of thoughts on the issues facing our industry.
It is my hope that everyone in this room can identify with at least one of these witnesses today, and I would certainly encourage anyone who would wish to submit additional written testimony, that it will be made a part of the official record of the hearing, and it will be as substantive and as important to the committee as anyone who verbally testifies. So, we are making this process available to anyone who wishes to make input.
I have the pleasure of introducing the members of the committee, a few of the 51 who are with us this morning. First of all, I want to recognize the committee's ranking member, my neighbor, and from Texas, who I know many of you know, Congressman Charles Stenholm, who is from the adjoining congressional district. Congressman Bill Barrett from Nebraska is vice chairman of the committee, represents almost all of the farming area of Nebraska in its west, north, and central regions. It's an extremely large district. Congressman John Boehner represents the folks of southwest Ohio. From from Oklahoma's western half, literally the whole western half of the State, Congressman Frank Lucas is with us this morning. Congressman Leonard Boswell is from Iowa, has an extremely large agricultural district in Iowa, and we're very glad that Leonard is with us. From the eastern part of Idaho, Congressman Mike Simpson. The committee also welcomes Congressman Mac Thornberry who represents portions of Lubbock, Amarillo, and who we have an adjoining district as well, and Mac has something further to say about the actual location where we are today, and I will not steal that thunder, and has many constituents here as well.
I do not want to speak too long because I want to emphasize that we are here to listen. I do want to say that I think all of the members of this table know that we have a problem in agriculture; and, if we didn't, we wouldn't be here. What's more, we all fundamentally believe that it is in the interest of this Nation to maintain and foster a diverse and strong agriculture sector for the future.
So, the question that we are here today, that we would like to try to answer is, how can we best do that? This committee was in Lubbock 5 years ago discussing agriculture policy. At that time, some of you were selling cotton for $1 a pound. Today it takes 2 pounds of cotton to get that dollar. Congress has responded in the last 2 years to depressed prices by providing more than $10 billion in supplemental payments to farmers.
Today we want to find out what really producers think is working and what is not working in our Federal farm policy. We're going to all regions of the country asking the same questions of farmers very much like yourself in the hope that we can find some consensus among producers for farm policy changes that you need. Again, I want to thank everyone for coming.
I would like to recognize Mr. Stenholm for any comments that he might wish to make.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES W. STENHOLM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm delighted to be here. Thank you for the leadership in scheduling these 10 hearings that we will be holding around the country for purposes of coming out and talking to producers about what changes, what new direction that we might take regarding agricultural policy to solve what has now become a very real crisis, the price crisis that we have been going through.
We also know we have a weather crisis. There is not much that we can do about that except to try to respond to it, and we know that we're 1 day closer to that rain today than we were yesterday.
In response to the crisis, I proposed a supplemental income plan that we threw out last year that we will again be putting some finer touches to this year for consideration by farmers and ranchers all over the United States. We do not pretend that it is the answer, but it is one thing that we have proposed. And we anticipate and know already as a result of many of you who have accepted the invitation to come forward with ideas and suggestions, thinking outside the box as to how we deal with very, very real problems facing American agriculture in the internationally competitive marketplace, with environmental rules and regulations, considerations, et cetera.
But we're here today to listen, and that's what we're going to be doing a lot of today, listening, asking a few questions, and hopefully laying the groundwork for what we might be able to do this year to assist us through what most economists are predicting is going to be another very tough year economically for agriculture, but also to begin laying the plans for where we go in 2003.
As I am sure everyone in this room knows, that the current farm bill was designed to be the bill that ends all farm bills, but I think most have had a change of heart today and will be looking at where we go with the Y2K2 problem. And that's what we begin today, is looking for the ideas and suggestions that we might take as a committee and move forward.
Again, I also join in thanking the people of Lubbock, the leadership of Lubbock that has been great to work with for my staff and others to make this a very successful beginning hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. Congressman Barrett. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BILL BARRETT, A REPRESENT
ATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for your initiative in bringing the first of 10 regional hearings to Lubbock, your hometown. I think every member of the committee that is here today is pleased to be here, and I am anxious to hear the comments from the 19 witnesses today that we can then carry back to Washington.
Thank you very much.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. BILL BARRETT Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership, vision, and foresight in organizing a series of nationwide field hearings to review Federal farm policy. These agri