Farmers nationwide are engaged in a fight for economic justice. A new farm policy must be enacted if the American farmer is to survive.
Today's unprofitable agricultural economic state can be traced back to the trickle-down economics of the Reagan-Bush years and further fueled with a farm policy that has proven to be a disaster.
The so-called "Freedom to Farm Act" resulted in prices remaining so low for so long that billions of dollars in emergency aid have been needed for the past two years to keep America's farmers in business. Last year, U.S. farmers experienced the lowest wheat prices in eight years, the lowest corn prices in more than a decade, the lowest soybean prices in 27 years, the lowest hog prices since the Great Depression and the steepest decline in milk prices in the history of our nation.
We must move to a policy that gives farmers the tools they need to thrive, not just to survive from disaster to disaster.
A new farm policy should include a counter-cyclical payment plan that would increase payments when crop prices drop and direct those payments to the farmers who actually produce the crops.
To stop discrimination against family sized farms, a new farm policy must demand reporting of livestock prices by the meat processing industry along with bolstering the resources of USDA and the Justice Department to fight anti-competitive practices.
In addition to providing for the public clean water and clean air, a Gore administration farm policy should include an expanded conservation program to provide an additional tool to stabilize farm income.
Our farm policy will also recognize the need for market development. We must continue to pursue trade opportunities for American farmers by negotiating broad and deep reductions in agricultural tariffs and other trade-distorting barriers.
It's time to set a new course for agriculture that allows the men and women who feed America to share in our prosperity.
We must demand that federal farm policies protect and assist family farmers to receive a fair profit for their labor.
We must demand that clean water, clean air and conservation of natural resources are a part of the agricultural agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen, Al Gore and the Democratic Party will stand strong for the American farmer.