National Farmers Union is urging the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees to hold hearings across the country and in Washington to examine the impact the current economic crisis has had on the rural economy and seek solutions.
"The stories I hear from family farmers and ranchers across the country are the same," says Tom Buis, NFU president. "The farm economy has quickly deteriorated into a desperate situation for many and the anxiety for 2009 is high. Commodity prices have declined while input costs remain high, both worldwide and domestic demand for our products has decreased and a looming credit crisis threatens economic stability."
Less than a year ago commodity prices reached record, or near-record levels. However, as 2008 came to an end, market prices for major grains, dairy, livestock and renewable energies took a historic collapse.
According to Buis, Congressional hearings would provide committee members a necessary perspective. "Many agriculture critics believe last year's short-lived high prices and farm bill passage should be enough to sustain the rural economy. What they fail to recognize is the rapidly changed economy, the challenge of writing farm legislation during periods of higher prices and the unique challenges that agricultural producers face on an annual basis. All of agriculture needs to come together to find solutions to the current economic crisis."
Source: National Farmers Union