Friday, June 22, 2007

Harkin - What Passed in House Committee won't fly in Senate

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin who is Chair of the Senate Ag Committee yesterday said that the status quo proposal that was passed in a House subcommittee will never fly in the senate.

A House Agriculture subcommittee voted on Tuesday to extend for five years the grain, cotton and soybean subsidies created in 2002. Congress is writing a successor to the 2002 law.

"What happened in the subcommittee ... is never going to pass on the House floor," said Harkin.

Harkin went further to say the farm bill should be repriortized this rewrite:

"First and foremost, ramping up production of biofuels and other alternative energy sources will continue to be a major shot in the arm to the rural economy. We can also do much more," he says.

"We need to continue the value-added product development grants. These grants have been very successful in encouraging rural business ventures to add value to farm commodities and products, whether for energy or for a whole host of other products.

"Likewise, we need a strong venture capital program to jump-start investment in new, job-creating enterprises in rural communities."

We are a long ways from getting the final decision on the farm bill

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