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Farm Press Release

October 26, 2000
For more information, contact Eric Tabor: 515-281-5191.

Statement of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on the Federal Agricultural Producer Protection Act

"I commend Iowa Senator Tom Harkin for drafting and introducing the Agricultural Producer Protection Act. This is a very significant piece of federal legislation for two reasons:

"First, Senator Harkin's bill is similar to model state legislation that I and fifteen other state attorneys general unveiled about a month ago concerning agricultural contracting. Our model state legislation and this bill have the same goal -- to give farmers greater economic protection in this era of rapid horizontal and vertical consolidation in agriculture. Senator Harkin and I share the view that the vast disparity in bargaining power and market information between agribusinesses and individual producers threatens healthy competition in agriculture to the detriment of both farmers and consumers.

"Enactment of federal legislation like the Harkin bill would be very beneficial for Iowa and the nation.

"Second, Senator Harkin's bill makes clear that states are not preempted in this arena. The bill ensures that states can go further than the federal government, if they choose, to address the particular needs of producers and others connected to agriculture in their respective states (with the caveat that states cannot permit an action prohibited by the federal law). Senator Harkin's position on the preemption issue is wise, since states have great differences when it comes to agriculture and undoubtedly will arrive at various solutions to the problem. Moreover, the position is appreciated because proposals by others in Congress on this topic would take half steps to protect producers and then prohibit states from doing more. We would strongly object to federal legislation that was not effective and preempted states.

"We will continue to pursue our model state legislation, and we look forward to working with Senator Harkin, the rest of the Iowa delegation, and others on worthwhile federal efforts like the one offered today by Senator Harkin."

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