Mr CAMPBELL—My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry, follows what the Prime Minister was talking about concerning the outrageous Lightfoot letter. I ask the Minister: Is it true that, if Mr Lightfoot's exhortation to the American Government leads to a continuation of its policies, not only wheat growers but also cotton, sugar, rice and the soya beans-competing lupin growers will be affected? I further ask whether it is important for the salvation of the Australian industry that we maintain a bipartisan approach to the Americans on this issue of dumping. In that context, would it be important for the honourable member for O'Connor, who has an electorate very largely devoted to wheat growing and who was feigning boredom through the Prime Minister's answer, to dissociate himself from Mr Lightfoot's remarks?

Mr KERIN—I thank the honourable gentleman for his question. I concur fully with what the Prime Minister has already said on this. I am quite amazed that the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the National Party or indeed the honourable member for O'Connor has not seen fit to repudiate the statement by one of their conservative colleagues. I guess that it is because they must agree with it. They are prepared to put petty politics ahead of the interests of farmers. Of course, that accords with the Liberal-

Mr Howard—Do you repudiate Joan Coxsedge?

Mr KERIN—Madam Speaker, could you keep this yabbering thing quiet?

Madam SPEAKER—Order! The Leader of the Opposition will cease talking across the table and he will also cease interjecting.

Mr KERIN—Lightfoot and big mouth. I would like to comment on the latter part of the honourable gentleman's question because a recent all-party delegation went to Washington with a truly bipartisan if not tripartisan approach and we were all there for Australia.

I hope that Mr Lightfoot's comments do not represent a change of view, given the seriousness with which we regarded the Dole amendment to the export-import Bill in the United States Senate and the Daschle Bill itself. The initial United States subsidisation proposals-the Dole and Daschle proposals-could have cost Australian wheat growers $470m this year on top of the $1 billion that the United States Farm Act has already been calculated to have cost us.

I find it difficult to imagine anything more reprehensible than for people in the Opposition parties to be seriously saying that they want to see this continuation of a detrimental trade effect to enhance the Liberal Party's and their own electoral prospects. Already the Leader of the Opposition has said that he is relying on an economic recession for his political salvation. I would simply like to say that, under this Government, honourable members opposite will get neither a recession nor their salvation.

The honourable gentleman also asked a question about crops other than wheat. With respect to cotton and rice, one element of the United States farm program-the target export assistance program rather than the export enhancement program-will have an even more insidious and more devastating effect than some of the other measures under its farm program.

With respect to sugar I do not think we can point the finger so much at the United States, even though it subsidises sugar production at US18c a pound and the world price is US6c a pound. But the main cause of the problem in the sugar industry still remains with the European Economic Community where its degree and level of subsidisation are even more pronounced. Of course, I think we all regard with dismay, and I am sure that the Deputy Leader of the National Party and his colleague the honourable member for Hume regard with dismay, the fact that when we came back we had this fire sale proposition to China of sugar at a little bit over US4c a pound.

All these things add up to an immense cost to Australian farmers and, as this Government has been trying to make quite clear, Australia's farm problems are very much a part of Australia's economic problem-that is, the problem with out balance of payments-and that is the reason why we have problems with our dollar. All these things are interdependent. I would have thought that all people in this House, when they are abroad and when they are reflecting on international matters, would speak with one voice rather than utter this damnable reprehensible nonsense.



Does the US pay farmers not to grow wheat? ›

Who ever heard of paying someone NOT to do something? The U.S. farm program pays subsidies to farmers not to grow crops in environmentally sensitive areas and makes payments to farmers based on what they have grown historically, even though they may no longer grow that crop.

Does the US produce enough food to feed itself? ›

The United States is growing less and less of its own food and is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign countries to feed itself as a result. The U.S. has been a proud agricultural powerhouse, consistently running an agricultural trade surplus.

What caused prices to drop for farmers? ›

Surplus was the problem; farmers were producing too much and driving down the price. The government passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) of 1933 which set limits on the size of the crops and herds farmers could produce.

How did most farmers respond to falling crop prices at the end of the 1800s? ›

As farmers fell deeper into debt, whether it be to the local stores where they bought supplies or to the railroads that shipped their produce, their response was to increase crop production each year in the hope of earning more money with which to pay back their debt. The more they produced, the lower prices dropped.

Does the US still pay farmers not to grow? ›

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would expand a program that pays farmers to leave land fallow, part of a broader, government-wide effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Is the USDA paying farmers to not grow crops? ›

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays a yearly rental payment in exchange for farmers removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental quality. View the Conservation Reserve Program Page.

Does America throw away enough food to feed the world? ›

America generates up to 1,000 pounds of food waste per person each year, enough to feed millions. Simple policy changes could help.

Where does the US get most of its food? ›

The leading U.S. agricultural exports are grains and feeds, soybeans, livestock products, tree nuts, fruits, vegetables, and other horticultural products. The leading U.S. imports are horticultural and tropical products. Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and East Asia are major U.S. trade partners.

What is the biggest issue facing agriculture in 2024? ›

Challenges in Agriculture for 2024
  1. U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is falling behind. ...
  2. Interest rates are increasing. ...
  3. Inflation Is slowing, but still a concern. ...
  4. Net farm income is nearing the five-year average. ...
  5. Total farm input costs are still increasing (but at a slower rate). ...
  6. The farm bill is delayed.
Jan 24, 2024

What is the income of farmers in 2024? ›

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast at $116.1 billion in calendar year 2024, a decrease of $39.8 billion (25.5 percent) relative to 2023 in nominal (not adjusted for inflation) dollars.

What is the average income of a farm in the US? ›

In 2022, the median income from farming was $178,692 for households operating commercial farms, and their median total household income was $252,728.

Why did farmers hate railroads? ›

Many attributed their problems to discriminatory railroad rates, monopoly prices charged for farm machinery and fertilizer, an oppressively high tariff, an unfair tax structure, an inflexible banking system, political corruption, corporations that bought up huge tracks of land.

Who did farmers blame for their problems? ›

Farmers, however, came to believe that their chief problem was not the market dynamics of supply and demand but that they sold goods in a free market and purchased goods in a protected and monopolistic market. They primarily zeroed in on two villains – banks and railroads.

Why did so many farmers lose their farms in the 1920s? ›

After World War I, farmers were left with the heavy debts they were encouraged to take on during the war. They owned more land and more equipment than they needed, while demand for their product significantly decreased. Market surplus led land and agricultural prices to plummet. Government relief was not provided.

Why would the federal government pay farmers to not farm? ›

As part of a $2.9-billion plan to try to keep water flowing in California rivers, the state will pay farms to keep thousands of acres vacant this growing season. Both state and federal officials, as well as some major water companies in the region, signed the plan on Tuesday.

What would American farmers not pay? ›

American farmers could not pay the taxes levied by the states. State officials seized farmers' lands to pay off their debts. Daniel Shays led Shays Rebellion, durning which four rebels were killed by the state militia.

Why are some farmers paid not to grow crops? ›

The farmers are paid to leave a portion of their lands dry and fallow, and the water saved over the next three years is expected to translate into 3 feet of additional water in Lake Mead, which has declined to its lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam.

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