AWB Limited Chairman Trevor Flugge will visit Washington next week to represent Australian wheat growers in the battle for a fairer global grain trading environment.
Mr Flugge’s trip will coincide with the US Senate debate on the new Farm Bill, which if passed, could add billions of dollars to US farm support and further disadvantage exporters around the world, including Australian grain growers.
The Bill being considered by the Senate, a version of which has already been passed by the House, would add US$73.5 billion over ten years to the US$98.5 billion currently spent on farm support and subsidy programs in the US.
“It is of great concern to the Australian grains industry, and the agricultural sector in general, that the US Congress is currently considering this new Farm Bill, which will entrench very high levels of farm subsidies for US producers,” Mr Flugge said.
“If passed, this new Bill would distort world prices, restrict innovation and diversity and subsidise a select group of American farmers at enormous cost to the US Government and taxpayer.
“Misdirected agricultural policy in the US has, over the years, led to a ritual of over production in many crops, particularly in heavily supported ones such as wheat.
“This combined with policies of export enhancement has had a detrimental effect on the market in which efficient producers without working Government support, such as Australian growers, must export their product.”
While in Washington, Mr Flugge will be meeting with representatives of the Bush Administration, including key figures in the US Department of Agriculture, key members of Congress and US farmer and exporter groups.