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Agriculture Department export program are key to keeping conventional and organic producers in the black, as lawmakers write the next farm bill. That was the message from producers and ag lawmakers at a Senate farm bill hearing.

 

39 USDA export assistance programs have no funding guarantee when their 2014 farm bill authority runs out in 2019. Programs including Market Access, Foreign Market Development and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops are among them, returning more than $28 for every dollar invested, or more than $2 billion a year in net farm income, based on a study by Informa Economics.

 

Greg Haines with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

 

 

Haines, meanwhile, says red meat exports add some 45-cents to a bushel of corn.

 

Kenneth Dallmier operates the Clarkson Grain Company in Cerro Gordo and told Senate Ag lawmakers USDA also needs to combat fraudulent imports of organic grain by boosting domestic production, legal liability for fraud, and verification tracking.

 

 

But verification is not enough. Ag Chair Pat Roberts says the National Organics Standards Board is plagued by “uncertainty and dysfunction,” hampering regulations needed to keep up with rapid growth and innovation in a sector, many growers now depend on to boost sinking margins.

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