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NAMA calls on Congress to allow the market to determine what crops are planted

September 13, 2006

Washington, D.C. – September 13, 2006 – In a hearing of the United States House of Representatives today, Rick L. Schwein testified in behalf of the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA). Schwein is senior vice president of Grain Millers, Inc. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) invited NAMA to testify at the hearing on federal farm policy as the committee begins the work of writing the next farm bill.

The NAMA testimony called on Congress to find mechanisms for providing a farm income safety net in ways that do not distort the planting decisions of growers. Schwein said, “We must end up with a farm bill that allows the market to determine what crops are planted.”

2006 oat production was a mere 107 million bushels, the lowest since USDA began keeping records in 1866, shortly after President Lincoln created the Department. U.S. wheat production is also dropping dramatically, with plantings declining by 18 million acres, or 24 percent, in just 10 years.

“It’s ironic that the U.S. government, through the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, encourages consumers to eat more grains all the while the government farm programs discourage growers from producing those grains,” said Schwein. “We are already competing with ethanol for productive land. We cannot compete with the federal treasury.”

NAMA believes Congress has a major opportunity to improve conditions for the wheat and oat industry, from grower through end consumer. This can be achieved by reforming the Conservation Reserve Program to allow sustainable acres back into production, reforming the farm program to reduce government-caused distortions of production decisions and investing in research to give growers better crop options.

NAMA is the trade association representing 48 companies that operate 170 wheat, oat and corn mills in 38 states. Their collective production capacity exceeds 160 million pounds of product each day, more than 95 percent of the total industry production.

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Download The Farm Bill – its impact on the grain milling industry – Testimony of Rick L. Schwein Senior Vice President, Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN.

CONTACT: Jim Bair, Vice President
202.484.2200, ext.14
jbair@namamillers.org

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