The House and Senate budget committees began work on the FY 2007 budget. The House and Senate ag committees are urging the budget committees not to seek additional cuts in farm spending, especially with the uncertainty of the Doha Round and the farm bill next year.

More than 40 ag organizations sent a letter to the budget committees asking that ag be spared. The groups contend the farm bill "represents a delicate balance by effectively addressing the stability of our ag production base, protecting our important natural resources, and enhancing nutrition and food assistance programs in our nation. The mandatory programs administered by USDA are of enormous importance to farmers, ranchers, rural businesses, low-income Americans and all our nation's children."

Among the groups were: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farmland Trust, American Soybean Association, Farm Credit Council, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Organization, National Farmers Union, National Pork Producers Council, National Wildlife Federation, and United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. --- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent