WASHINGTON — Arguing that the 2007 Farm Bill, in its current form, is still too generous with federal subsidies to large commercial farmers, Cal Dooley, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, yesterday sent a letter to Congress, urging lawmakers to oppose H.R. 2419, the Food and Energy Security Act of 2008, which is linked to the Farm Bill. “Despite record farm prices and wealth, farm bill negotiators missed a rare opportunity to reform farm subsidies to help many more farmers, consumers and communities, and to meet our commitments to our trading partners,” Dooley wrote. “[The U.S. Department of Agriculture] reports that net farm income will top $92 billion in 2008 — well above the 10-year average of $61 billion — and large commercial farmers will earn nearly $300,000 annually. Nevertheless, farm bill negotiators included no meaningful limits on who can receive subsidies or the amount a producer can receive. In fact, Congress increased subsidies for some farmers, including costly new subsidies and protections for sugar producers that will increase the cost of food at a time of record food inflation.” Dooley’s argument echoes those of President Bush, who has threatened to veto the bill and extend the 2005 Farm Bill, which is currently in effect, for another year.
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