USA Rice Federation and 28 other agriculture organizations last week wrote to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and ranking Democrat, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Md., to express concerns and offer perspectives about development of the fiscal year 2012 House budget resolution.

"If the 2012 House budget proposal includes reduction instructions, we strongly urge the Budget Committee to provide each authorizing committee with one savings target and defer to each committee as to how the savings are to be achieved," the groups noted.  The organizations stated that if spending reductions were to be made, they should be commensurate with agriculture's affect on the budget.

U.S. farm policy has established "a fiscal record that is unique among federal policies in three ways," the letter says, pointing out that "the cost of farm policy has sharply decreased over the past 10 years," accounts for less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the federal budget, and is consistently under budget.  In addition, farm policy has realized $15 billion in savings in three rounds of cuts over the past six years.

The organizations said farm policies "have recently been singled out for disproportionate cuts" and that the farm economy is "highly cyclical."

"Failure to anticipate an imminent downturn in the agricultural economy by not maintaining farm policies through the farm bill and crop insurance... would, in time, prove penny wise and pound foolish," they wrote.

USA Rice helped lead agricultural associations in articulating to Congress the savings already achieved in farm policy and the importance of a viable farm safety net for agriculture.