USA may gain edge

9 January 1998

USA may gain edge

FARMERS in the US could win a competitive edge in world markets thanks to the Freedom to Farm Bill, says Richard Guebert.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, the Illinois farmer said: "The American government and most American farmers believe the Freedom to Farm Act is a blueprint for global agriculture. If it is, American farmers are a step ahead of farmers in Canada, China and the European Community.

"If you were in the government programme, you planted the crops and prescribed acreage dictated by the government. Now, acres can be shifted from crop to crop, farm to farm, in order to achieve the greatest dollar revenue."

East Sussex farmer David Butler said the Act would increase the pressure on the EU to remove export subsidies and tariffs on imports. Some form of EU support for most food products, particularly milk and butter, would continue for the foreseeable future, he said.

"Beyond this modest protection, we shall all probably be exposed to market forces."

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