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US farming group misdirects money to export support

4 July 2013

US farming group misdirects money to export support

News reports that the United States’ Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) is to increase export subsidy support to US$60 million, is a misdirection of voluntary farmer levies in the eyes of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“We need to clear this has nothing to do with the United States Government,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Cooperatives Working Together is a voluntary producer-funded national program developed by America’s National Milk Producers Federation. While designed to assist family farms, New Zealand’s farmers know from bitter experience that programmes like this actually hurt family farms.

“You end up maximising energy to get a subsidy instead of listening to markets.

“It also means the United States’ taxpayer is paying twice over. The multi-year United States’ Farm Bill, now in the Houses of Congress, is costed at something like US$1 trillion. What CWT is doing is cross-subsidising exports through what US consumers are paying domestically.

“While it may be voluntary for producers, it is less voluntary for US domestic customers.

“Money like this would be far better invested in helping dairy farmers adapt systems to a no-subsidy future. Farming is a business after all. In that regard Federated Farmers would be pleased to work with US farming groups to show how we have adapted and evolved.

“There is plenty of scope for us all but that must be based on the market place being an even playing field, Mr Leferink concluded.

ENDS

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