WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bakers and other allied
groups joined forces in Washington, D.C., today to draw attention to record
high wheat prices and tight supplies. "It is crucial that the White House,
our elected representatives, and the Department of Agriculture hear
first-hand how bakers and others wheat users, including consumers, are
struggling with current market conditions. Wheat markets - and commodity
markets in general - are behaving in ways that we have not seen before. We
believe that extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures,"
declared Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association
The ABA outlined a plan focusing on three key areas to alleviate the
-- Increasing flexibility for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
-- ABA estimates that as much as one-third of the farm land idled
through the CRP could be returned to production without sacrificing
-- ABA strongly supports a proposal from House Agriculture Committee
Chairman Peterson for a seven million acre decrease in the CRP.
-- ABA continues to urge U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to
exercise its authority to waive penalties for farmers seeking an
early release from CRP contracts.
-- Balancing Food and Fuel Needs.
-- ABA supports developing energy efficient alternatives and
alternative fuel research (cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel);
however, these policies must be balanced with the needs of
traditional agriculture to ensure a reliable food supply for our
-- ABA supports the requirement in the 2007 energy bill that gives the
Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with USDA and the
Energy Department, authority to waive yearly renewable fuel standard
requirements if they would "severely harm the economy of a state,
region or the US" or if domestic supplies are not adequate to meet
-- Trading independence from foreign oil for dependence on foreign
sources of basic food is not in the best security interests of the
-- Balancing Domestic and International Customer Needs.
-- USDA should give priority to the needs of the domestic food industry
when supplies of wheat drop below the three-month stocks average.
-- ABA supports instituting a requirement for USDA to periodically
evaluate the impact of the renewable fuels program on the nation's
commodity supply and recommend adjustments to the Renewable Fuels
Standard (RFS) as necessary.
"There is no single fix for the current crisis, just as there is no
quick fix," stated David Brown, vice president procurement, Sara Lee Corp.
and chairman of the ABA Commodity Task Force. "However, we strongly believe
that implementation of these actions will send important, positive signals
to the marketplace at a time when it is critically needed."
Other groups represented at the press conference were: Bakery Industry
Suppliers Association (BEMA), Independent Bakers Association (IBA), Retail
Bakers Association (RBA), and Snack Food Association (SFA).
ABA is the Washington, DC-based trade association that has been the
voice of the wholesale baking industry since 1897. ABA has a long and
dedicated history of representing the interests of the wholesale baking
industry before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state legislatures and
international regulatory authorities. ABA represents approximately 80
percent of the wholesale bakeries in the U.S. and their suppliers.
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SOURCE American Bakers Association