Farm Groups Ask Senators to Reject Disaster Bill


by Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Major farm groups pushing for a new five-year farm bill wrote Senate leaders Friday asking them not to pass a stand-alone disaster bill.

In a news release, the American Farm Bureau stated the 13 farm groups wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asking them to “refrain from supporting” the disaster bill the House passed just before adjourning for the August recess.

The House and Senate return next week with farm groups calling for a major rally at the Capitol on Wednesday to push lawmakers to adopt a new farm bill before the end of the month when the 2008 farm bill expires. House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have been asked to speak at the rally.

The farm groups say a disaster package is simply a quick fix that would cost $600 million, the Farm Bureau stated.

“This is something our groups do not support,” the letter stated. “We strongly urge you to refrain from this as we fear that passage of a bill similar to the House bill could result in further delays in completing a full five-year farm bill.”

Time is becoming a challenge, given the last farm bill took months to complete conference negotiations even after both bodies had passed a version of the bill. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said earlier this week he thought there would be a one-year extension on the farm bill so a new version could be taken up and completed next year.

The farm groups, however, are showing more vigor, as their letter added, “Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees have produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address many of the core principles we believe are important, such as strengthening crop insurance as a reliable risk management tool.”

The letter concluded, “We remain committed to attempting to pass a five-year farm bill as soon as possible, including the long-term provisions it includes, which would help alleviate the emergency conditions we are seeing across the country.”

According to the Farm Bureau, the letter was also signed by the following groups: American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Sunflower Association, Northarvest Bean Growers Association, United Fresh Produce Association, U.S. Canola Association, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council and Western Growers.


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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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