There are many general pro stakeholders on this side, most notably farmers unions from across the country, and several politicians whose states’ economy and culture are structured around agriculture. Specific stakeholder groups number close to the thousands and usually focus on specific crops or goods. This group includes organizations such as American Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, the National Corn Growers Association, and the American Sugar Alliance. Politicians such as Tom Harkin, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Nebraska state Senator Ben Nelson all realize the impact this bill has on their states and this country. The economic, political, and moral values that shape their arguments focus on protecting and supporting the people who help make this country have the “cheapest, safest, most abundant food supply in the world” (Farm Policy). Presentation of Proponents’ Arguments, and Evidence: Issue 1: “safety net” The first argument presented by the proponents of this bill is that the legislation provides protection to farmers, most commonly known as a safety net. Not only does this safety net protect farmers from market- value pricing and other farming uncertainties, but it also saves tax payers money. David Stanford, vice president of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, states that, “the safety net protects farmers from the
Sample Paper 13 unexpected” (Smith 6). This includes elements of surprise such as droughts, natural disasters, and over-surplus. An article on the House Committee of Agriculture website argues that the bill “continues the price-based counter- cyclical program, which provides assistance when prices decline. Additionally, it preserves the non-recourse marketing loan program, the fundamental piece of the farm safety net.” A crucial element to this safety net is that it must provide farmers with sufficient funds without putting a burden on taxpayers. A research study provided by the Northeast-Midwest Institute shows that this bill establishes a counter-cyclical revenue-based system. By implementing this counter-cyclical revenue based system “over 8.2 billion dollars would be saved over the course of ten years” (“Summary of USDA”). To translate, currently our counter cyclical payment programs are based on price. The new proposed counter cyclical revenue program is based on gross revenue. The new program “provides better protection with less market distortion at not additional cost” (“Reforming Farm”). Furthermore, the proposed new payment program would base revenue at a state level, and not a national level, which would reflect “localized weather anomalies, that occur at the individual state level” (“Reforming Farm”). In essence, it would be implementing a new system of monitoring when farmers need to be paid for a lack of profit based on state average revenue produced by certain crops.
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- Spring '09