Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chambliss Applauds Decision to Postpone Changes to Peanut Loans

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the decision made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to not make any changes to the manner in which they establish marketing loan differentials for peanuts for the 2008 crop year. Maintaining the current practice for determining differentials for 2008 benefits Georgia peanut producers as the recent USDA proposal would have resulted in a significantly lower marketing loan rate for the Runner variety, which makes up almost 100 percent of Georgia production. Georgia produces nearly 45 percent of all the peanuts produced in the United States, making it the number one peanut producing state.

“This is good news for peanut producers in Georgia,” said Sen. Chambliss. “This year’s crop of peanuts has been in the ground for weeks and 2008 production contracts were signed months ago. Changing the loan differential formula after the peanut crop has been planted would have been detrimental for our growers. Domestic demand for peanuts and peanut products has increased and the federal government should allow growers to respond to this demand without interrupting current systems in place. I applaud USDA for recognizing the importance of maintaining the historically recognized practice of establishing loan differentials for the 2008 crop year.”

The farm bill recently approved by Congress contains several provisions that benefit peanut producers such as: maintaining a separate subtitle for peanuts; preserving the target price, direct payment rate and marketing loan rate established in the 2002 farm bill; providing for a mechanism to ensure handling and associated costs are not deducted from a producer’s loan rate; maintaining separate payment limits for peanuts; and including Conservation Security Program incentives for producers moving towards an optimal crop rotation.

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