Senator Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.) delivered a fiery opening to the Farm Journal Forum 2011. He touched on the path forward for the farm bill, sequestration, MF Global, overregulation and protecting ag from terrorist threats.
Roberts began by stating the No. 1 problem with our country is the "Katrina wave of regulations." Roberts says the Obama administration is focused on more government, but that what our country needs is to "reign in overburdensome and duplicative regulations" and to let the people of our country "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" as we've always done.
On the farm bill front, Roberts noted the consensus is that crop insurance needs to be the focus but it needs to be simplified.
He noted the two chairs responsible for the final bill both "tried extremely hard to do what was right," but he continued that it was hard to know what that was. He said that if the proposed bill was passed, WTO complaints would have lined up and their would have been many problems about "astronomical" target prices and the revenue assurance program based on planted acres.
He says going forward for the farm bill a return to normal order and the "clear, open, honest debate" is what is needed. He says that the key issue that all can agree on is feeding the world, emphasizing that our population is expected to exceed 9 billion in a few decades. He says ag research is key for this endeavor.
As to the across-the-board cuts that are to be triggered by the failure of the Super Committee, Roberts said there is much uncertainty about sequestration, but he did not that at a time when the world is like a "tinder box," this cutting national defense is worrisome.
Roberts called the MF Global situation "unprecedented" and says Gary Genslers move to "nonparticipation" have raised more questions than answers, questioning why he removed himself from the investigation and why this was done in a delayed fashion.
Roberts says the key going forward will be to convince the public that the futures market is still a valuable risk management tool. Roberts also expressed the need to remove GIPSA from the books as it is yet another job-hindering regulation.
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