May 23, 2008
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Agriculture & Industries' Commissioner Ron Sparks announced his concern over President George Bush's decision to veto the Farm Bill. In President Bush's veto message, one of his reasons for rejecting the bill was his opinion that some farmers are making too much money and do not deserve to be subsidized. Sparks believes that the President's position does not take into account the circumstances of farmers in Alabama and throughout the Southeast.
"In the last few years, Alabama has experienced the worst drought in the nation, hurricane and tornado disasters, and a late spring freeze that devastated many of our farmers," said Sparks. "While I can't speak for those farmers in other parts of the country, I can tell you that here in Alabama our farmers need and deserve our help. The cost of food has been going up, but that is due to the rising cost of equipment, fuel, and fertilizer. Add to that the costs of recovery following a disaster and losses due to drought or other bad weather and it is clearly taking a toll on our farmers. The number of family farms in Alabama goes down by 500 to1,000 each year. We need to help them continue to work and provide us with the most economical and safest food supply in the world. It is essential to our nation's future."
Sparks added that he is extremely thankful that Alabama's delegation voted to override the President's veto. However, because the copy of the bill submitted to the President had 34 pages omitted accidentally, Congress must now submit the correct version. Sparks hopes that even though the President is likely to veto the corrected version, Alabama's delegation will once again vote to override the veto.
The Farm Bill would expand nutrition aid for the poor, increase funding for conservation programs, and create a $4 billion disaster program for farmers.