Washington, D.C - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at the 107th convention of the National Farmers Union late this afternoon in Arlington, Virginia. The Speaker was presented with the Friend of Family Farmers Award at the convention. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared:
“It's great to be back with my friends from the National Farmers Union. We've been together many times in the Capitol, and just two years ago, in Orlando. You should know that I display my Golden Triangle Award with great pride in the Speaker's office.
“Tom Buis: I know this is your last NFU Convention, so allow us to applaud you for all you have done - as both a farmer and a former Capitol Hill staffer - to ensure the voices of America's farmers and ranchers are heard on the Hill.
“I also want to recognize Joaquin Contente, the President of the California Farmers Union, and all of the Farmers Union representatives from California who are here.
“Last time we came together, we were still in the trenches, writing the Farm Bill. No matter how difficult the negotiations, the National Farmers Union did not give up. We banded together to make historic investments in the American farmer and rural communities and I thank you for your support.
“We worked together again this year with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Just last week, when the Federal Reserve released the Beige Book - its report on the state of the economy - it confirmed what you all already know: that in agriculture, prices are down, sales are down, and America's farmers and ranchers are suffering.
“Democrats in Congress understand this, and that is why we made certain that the recovery bill made significant investments to boost our rural economy.
“I'm grateful for the support of the NFU in passing this legislation that will help deploy broadband to our rural areas, provide disaster relief to farmers, and invest in American renewable fuels.
“There are real opportunities for our rural areas on the horizon. That's because it is America's farmers who will fuel America's energy independence - with cellulosic biofuels from your fields, with the wind and sun from your farms.
“And when we invest in renewable energy here at home, we will send our energy dollars to the Midwest and coast to coast instead of to the Middle East.
“The National Farmers Union has been in the lead every step of the way - from supporting our efforts to pass comprehensive energy legislation last year to being a leader among your peers in demanding a role for agriculture in cap-and-trade legislation.
“I know some of you have concerns about President Obama's budget and what it will mean to the family farmer and rancher. You also know that our nation is facing dire challenges, and that our responsibility to future generations demands fiscal responsibility now.
“President Obama's budget is currently being reviewed by Congress. I can assure you that Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro will be involved every step of the way in looking out for your interests as this budget moves through Congress.
“Our farmers and ranchers have given us the most abundant, most affordable, and safest food supply in history. You have helped make America the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, and I know you are ready to do this again.”