Friday, May 9, 2008

Farm Bill One Step Closer

US Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, announced on May 8, 2008, a final farm bill conference agreement with principal negotiators. A formal conference report will be prepared, and the bill will then be brought to the full Senate and House for approval.

The conference committee version of the bill has bipartisan support. However, the White House has threatened to veto the bill, to which Harkin comments, “Inexplicably, the White House seems intent on destroying the harvest just as the seeds are being planted.”

On conservation measures in the committee passed version of the bill, Harkin notes, “To meet soaring worldwide demand for food and energy crops, millions of new acres of land are being brought into production, including environmentally fragile land. To address this challenge, we authorize nearly $4.4 billion in additional funds for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program over the next 10 years. With this support, the Conservation Stewardship Program will enroll nearly 13 million acres each year.”

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