A number of farm groups sent a letter to President Bush this week saying they won't support any administration proposals to further reduce domestic farm programs unless other countries agree to reduce their farm subsidies and tariffs. The U.S. has proposed a 60% reduction in farm subsidies.

Regarding the World Trade Organization negotiations, the ag groups wrote, "Mr. President, we believe it's important to make clear that American ag won't support any deeper cuts in domestic support than those already proposed by the administration. If negotiators are forced to scale back the level of ambition from the U.S. proposal on ag-market access in order to reach an agreement, the level of ambition in cutting trade-distorting domestic support must be commensurately reduced from the U.S. proposal."

Signatories to the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, and USA Rice Federation.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent