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Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve Statement on Signing S. 2427 Into Law.

April 11, 1980

Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 2427, a bill to give the Secretary of Agriculture additional authority to help ensure that America's farmers do not bear an unfair share of the economic burden associated with the suspension of grain exports to the Soviet Union.

Under current law, farmers who do not participate in our voluntary acreage set aside programs, when such programs are in effect, are not eligible to place their wheat and corn in the farmer-owned grain reserve. A set-aside program was in effect for 1979 crops of both wheat and corn, but the outlook for corn prices was favorable enough in late 1978 and early 1979 so that participation was low. Less than one-fourth of the crop acreage was entered in the program. As a result, much of the corn now in farmers' bins is not eligible for the farmer-owned reserve.

Some of that grain was previously destined for export to the Soviet Union. From the point of view of the Nation's interest, it is better for farmers to enter this grain in the reserve than to dump it on the market or sell it to the Commodity Credit Corporation. This law would permit a limited amount of that grain to move into the farmer-owned reserve.

Farmers who participated in the voluntary 1979 program will retain a very significant advantage. They will continue to have unlimited access to the reserve throughout the period of eligibility of their grain, and they will not be required to pay interest on the price support loans they receive for grain in the reserve. The special entrants under this law will pay one year's interest, and only a limited amount of special entry grain will be permitted, on a first-come-first-served basis.

I believe this action will benefit all farmers, both those who participated in the 1979 programs and those who did not. It will help the Secretary maintain market prices and thus fulfill my pledge that the economic conditions grain producers face in 1980 will be unchanged by the Soviet grain suspension. Furthermore, this additional authority will permit us to fulfill that pledge at lowest cost to the Government.

The bill has two other important features. It permits corn to be sold for alcohol fuel production at the reserve release price, rather than the higher price required by current law, and it relaxes the restriction on the size of individual loans that can be made for farm storage facilities. The latter feature complements the other actions we have taken to expand and improve the farmer-owned grain reserve.

I want to compliment the Congress on its speed. This measure was first discussed with Senator Talmadge on March 6. The House completed work on the Senatepassed bill on April 1. Without the strong and effective support of Chairman Talmadge and Chairman Foley, such quick action would not have been possible.

Note: As enacted, S. 2427 is Public Law 96-234, approved April 11.

Jimmy Carter, Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve Statement on Signing S. 2427 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250647

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