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Corn+Soybean Digest

Ag Economist: Farm bill tied up in Senate

The 2007 Farm Bill is not moving near as quickly as some had hoped, and with each passing day it is more likely a new farm bill won't be in place by the November deadline, says Allen Gray, a Purdue University Extension farm bill expert.

The U.S. Senate is waiting on the Senate Finance Committee to provide some indication of how much money is available to spend. Senate leaders also are trying to get enough votes to support key initiatives, explains Gray. These initiatives include increases in conservation payments and putting permanent disaster legislation in place, he says.

"Some of the changes – at least from the House of Representatives perspective – taking place particularly in the commodity title, where farmers receive a lot of the subsidy payments or safety net payments, are changing in small amounts," Gray says. "So it's basically the same as the old farm bill.

"With today's increased market prices, that doesn't mean much for us in the short run. What the House is doing will not affect farmers' pocketbooks much."

On the other hand, the Senate may be making changes that will affect farmers' pocketbooks.

"It looks like the Senate may be trying to cut direct payments a little bit, but at the moment it doesn't appear to be a big cut," Gray says. "It's going to be a small cut at best."

A big change that will impact the Hoosier state is a pilot project... Continue reading on the 2007 Farm Bill >
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