14 September 1999
US farmers protest on Capitol Hill

HUNDREDS of family farmers protested on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday (Monday) against agriculture policies they claim are causing them economic ruin.

The farmers are concerned that the Freedom to Farm Act, passed in 1996, has largely dismantled the complex system of farm price and income supports.

This exposed producers to the full force of the market which has been exacerbated this year by several severe problems which have hit the sector.

These range from drought to a collapse in prices on several crops caused by over-supply.

The Senate last month passed a $7bn emergency agriculture spending bill but the House and Senate have yet to agree on a final version of the bill.