Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Farm Bill Initiatives Unveiled

Today was the day that Secretary Johanns unveiled the USDA version of the farm bill. Included were increased funding for renewable energy research, conservation, support of specialty crop growers, program to help new farmers and ranchers, strengthen disaster relief, rural development, trade and modernizing (and renaming) the food stamp program.

Now the questions will really begin...what will the House and Senate Ag committee's think of the proposal, where do they agree on policy and disagree? Is there enough disaster relief and safety nets for farmers? Let the fun begin.

During the unveiling the Secretary had this to say regarding these issues:

REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, what's been the response from lawmakers on Capitol
Hill? I know you've been up yesterday, you were up there again this morning.
What has the response been to your proposals?
SEC. JOHANNS: Here's what I
would say. Boy, farm bills are so challenging because I will work with lawmakers
from every region on the country, every crop you can possibly think of. The
diversity in farm policy is just huge. I would say this: I do think they are
very appreciative of the work that we went to. I think this is being regarded as
a very extensive program. Like everything, we got a long way to go to the finish
line. But I think if the comments are any indication, they've been very
encouraging in terms of us being a part of the process. And for us, that means a
lot.
So I certainly don't want to speak for anyone. I've read some of the
comments of lawmakers, and I appreciate their comments so much. And we're
anxious to move forward and, like I said, get a Farm Bill done in 2007

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