The Bush Administration's report offers a set of principles to guide policy development for trade, a farm safety net, system infrastructure, conservation and environment, rural communities, nutrition and food assistance and program
"This report clearly demonstrates the complexities of the agricultural economy and the need to view policy decisions in the largest context possible, not in the vacuum of special interests," said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. "We hope that the spirit embodied in this report guides future policymaking in this administration and future administrations."
The following is a summary of the key principles:
- Farm policy and programs must be tailored to reflect wide differences among farms with respect to production costs, marketing approaches, management capabilities and household goals.
- Farm policy, including
providing a safety net, must promote more
sustainable prosperity for farmers through
market orientation without engendering
long-term dependence on government support.
This does not
rule out helping farmers and ranchers when unexpected events beyond their control occur and cause output or income to plummet.
- Trade policy must focus on gaining access to foreign markets through tariff reduction and the elimination of trade distorting subsidies and be supported by domestic policy that meets our existing international obligations and provides ample latitude to pursue ambitious goals in trade negotiations.
- Domestic farm
policy must not inadvertently reduce
competitiveness at the same time that trade
policy seeks expanded export market
infrastructure that supports market growth and
efficiency, which includes everything from
border inspection services to research
be renewed and reoriented to fit today's realities, with input and cooperation from every link in the food chain.
- Conservation policy must
pursue a portfolio of instruments, including
land retirement and stewardship incentives on
working farmland, to respond to
Americans' growing expectations about agriculture's role in promoting and protecting environmental quality.
- A strong commitment to ensuring the access of all Americans to a healthy and nutritious food supply must continue, with particular attention to improvements in the delivery of food assistance to low-income families.
- Recognition of
emerging diet quality issues is of paramount
importance, as the nation's concern shifts from
under-consumption and under-nutrition to
of the proper variety and quantities of foods and nutrients that promote health and well-being.
- Rural America is
diverse, and tailored policies must create
conditions that will attract private
investment, encourage the education of the
force, and promote alternative uses of the natural resource base, including through development of renewable energy sources and carbon sequestration to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Systems must be integrated to assure coordinated and collaborative delivery of food and farm programs and to citizen access to public services.
For a complete copy of the report, go to www.usda.gov.