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Serving: IA

Congress Marks Up Disaster Package

The House and Senate on Thursday both passed emergency supplemental budget packages that include agriculture relief measures. With no restrictions included in regard to the war on Iraq, agricultural leaders are optimistic this bill will be signed.

The House and Senate once again passed an emergency supplemental package Thursday that combined funding for operations in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina relief, a minimum wage increase and agriculture relief.

This package doesn't included any war deadlines and President George W. Bush urged support for the compromise measure. Unlike the last measure, both Republicans and Democrats supported the compromise funding.

The $3 billion disaster package includes assistance for producers who suffered crop and livestock losses from weather-related disasters during fiscal years 2005, 2006 and the 2007 crop year for those producers who planted before Feb. 28. Eligible producers must select one year from which to receive funding.

Eligibility would be based on whether producers carried crop insurance during the selected year. The package provides assistance for farmers who lost 35% or more of their crop in one of the covered years and for livestock producers in counties that experienced Agriculture Department designated natural disasters during the covered time.

Also included in the agriculture bill is a one-month extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract dairy subsidy program.

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