No apology needed for agriculture programs

Former U.S. representative and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Larry Combest sees more than a tad of irony in the Wall Street Journal and the other usual suspects criticizing farm programs while Congress debates massive bailouts of banks, borrowers and auto manufacturers.

Combest, who serves as an advisor to the Southwest Council of Agribusiness through Combest and Sell Associates, said the council’s emphasis has changed.

“For the last two and a half years we concentrated on the farm bill,” Combest said during the recent Texas Commodity Symposium, an annual event held in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm Show.

“For the next few months, maybe years, we’ll be talking about a variety of new issues. Our opponents never go away.”

He said environmental over-regulation may be a top priority with executive and legislative branches of government controlled by Democrats.

He criticized a “$1 trillion bailout to people who made dumb decisions, people who borrowed money they knew they couldn’t repay. Most people who created the (economic) crisis did so by making dumb decisions.”

In that context, he said the Wall Street Journal “took a shot at agriculture, calling the farm bill corporate welfare. It continues to amaze me that people worrying about making their Lexus payment don’t have to worry about food.”

He said food prices have risen despite lower commodity prices. “Gas (price) is also down. But they continue to take shots at agriculture.

“Farmers just get up every day and to what they need to do. You’re doing the right thing and we don’t have to apologize to anybody for doing the right thing for agriculture.”

Combest expressed satisfaction at Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ success in a runoff election in early December.

“We couldn’t afford to lose (Senator) Chambliss, a champion for agriculture.”

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TAGS: Legislative
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