Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Farm Bill Extended 1 Week

The farm bill discussion seems to be a little further along today as the US House passed a 1 week extension of the existing farm bill, but the deal is not done yet:

Negotiations on the roughly $280 billion, five-year bill to expand agriculture and nutrition programs are in disarray with lawmakers from the House and Senate squabbling over how to pay for it. The White House says both the current House and Senate versions are too expensive and has threatened a veto if either one reaches the president's desk with the spending intact.

House members object to several tax breaks in the Senate bill, including provisions to help owners of race horses, landowners who find endangered species on their property and those involved in litigation over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Some environmentalists are using the extra time to try and change the proposed policies for increased biofuels production:

Craig Cox, executive director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society in Ankeny, Iowa, said these recent studies have shown we need to revisit the increased use of biofuels.

“Evidence is pretty clear that corn-based ethanol is not the future,” Cox said.

But corn is what we have today and it's an excellent start in the countries much needed energy independence and farm leaders agree:

“There are some incentives in the farm bill in the energy title for the [ethanol and biodiesel production] programs, as well as many others with renewable energy,” said Chuck Spencer, director of national legislation and policy development at the Illinois Farm Bureau. “It’s beneficial not only to agriculture but to our increasing energy demands overall. Agriculture is a renewable resource provider. We have a very clear understanding that we must be caretakers and stewards of our land and water resources.”

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