(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today announced that the House Agriculture Committee will be holding a Farm Bill hearing on Saturday, June 10th at the Yakima Convention Center from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. House Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte will attend the hearing along with members of the Washington Congressional delegation including McMorris, Hastings, and Larsen.
“The 2007 Farm Bill will be extremely important to our Eastern Washington farmers who are struggling due to the loss of their safety net and high fuel and fertilizer costs,” said McMorris. “As we prepare for the upcoming Farm Bill it is important that our farmers continue to weigh in and are an active part of the process.”
McMorris hosted two farm forums last year in Eastern Washington. In October, House Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte attended an agriculture forum in Ritzville and in November Agriculture Secretary Johanns hosted a Farm Forum in Cheney.
The Farm Bill hearing is an opportunity for Eastern Washington farmers to speak directly to the House Agriculture Committee and offer public input regarding a new farm bill. Agriculture is vital to the economic stability of our region and Washington state ranks number one or two in the production of 19 different commodities. The Farm Bill offers a wide array of opportunities for farmers including: a safety net for wheat, trade and market access programs, specialty crop purchase program for school lunches, nutrition programs and conservation efforts.
After enactment of the 2002 Farm Bill, USDA announced the most comprehensive adjustments in more than 15 years to the county loan rate structure for 2002 crops. The restructured loan rates have adversely affected farmers in the Pacific Northwest and McMorris has worked with colleagues in the House to increase the loan rate and expressed concern that the safety net provided in the 2002 Farm Bill has failed our farmers. She will continue to work to find a solution to counter-cyclical payments, restoring the intended safety net provision.
Since taking office, McMorris has worked to promote a strong agriculture/resource economy:
Passed H.R. 8 to permanently repeal the death tax
Supported the Central American Free Trade Agreement
Sponsored legislation to extend tax incentives for biodiesel
Sponsored legislation to help beginning farmers and ranchers
Sponsored and supported Endangered Species Act legislation
Secured funding for Johnson Hall at Washington State University in Pullman