The USA Rice Federation supports emergency comprehensive agricultural disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers, including S. 2438, the Emergency Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2006, introduced recently by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and 23 of his bipartisan Senate colleagues.

The bill contains a supplemental direct payment provision that is key for rice producers who suffered significant natural disaster-related losses during the 2005 crop season.

Sen. Conrad held a news conference recently on Capitol Hill to rally support for agricultural disaster assistance and referenced the March 7 letter calling for emergency comprehensive agricultural disaster assistance that USA Rice Federation and 21 other national farm organizations sent to congressional leaders.

USA Rice Federation offers the following statement on this issue:

“We appreciate the leadership and support of Sen. Conrad on this issue,” USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman Paul Combs said. “We want to particularly thank rice state senators Jim Talent (R-MO), Kit Bond (R-MO), Blanche L. Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who have already cosponsored this important legislation, ” Combs said.

“The 30 percent supplemental direct payment provision included in this bill would provide relief to rice producers trying to recover from the hurricane, drought and flood related losses of 2005,” he said.