AFBF'S STALLMAN STILL 'CONCERNED' AS MARKUP RESUMES
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After spending much of Wednesday marking up the 2007 farm bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee resumed work on the legislation today and made what American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman called a "significant improvement" over the initial package.
Nevertheless, Stallman issued a statement on the day's proceedings in which he said the AFBF remains "concerned" over commodity title funding.
When the committee stopped last night, it was in the midst of Title IV, which deals with nutrition.
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) was expected to continue pushing his alternative farm bill proposal Thursday, and may take it to the Senate floor. "The House of Representatives failed this year to pass a bill that reforms our antiquated scheme," Lugar said Wednesday. "Now it appears this committee will unfortunately follow suit."
In addition, it appears the committee will vote on a proposal by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) that would make some necessary changes to the Average Crop Revenue plan put forward by committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The Roberts amendment would address a few of the concerns the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations have with the chairman's mark.
Further, Roberts and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) successfully amended the chairman's mark to restore current payment limits for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, citing the high costs incurred by livestock operations to comply with Confined Animal Feeding Operation regulations.
By late afternoon, Stallman issued a statement on the proceedings.
"The comprehensive farm legislation that emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee today is a significant improvement over the initial legislative package the committee started with earlier this week," he said. "We will work with key senators to further improve the bill so it provides a reliable safety net for America's farmers and ranchers when weather and market conditions are unfavorable."
"We are pleased the Senate Agriculture Committee completed this important step, and urge Senate leaders to commit to scheduling floor time for further consideration of this vital legislation in early November," he added. "We remain concerned that when the budget numbers on the final Senate Agriculture Committee bill are finalized, we will find that commodity title funding will have been reduced in order to increase funding for other priorities such as conservation, nutrition and rural development."
For more information, visit agriculture.senate.gov