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Farm Bill Delayed But Ag Tax Package Passes

Harkin pushes farm bill mark-up back, while Finance Committee creates permanent disaster aid.

Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin scheduled mark-up of the farm bill for Thursday afternoon but then decided to postpone it until after the Columbus Day recess. Senate Ag Committee spokesperson Kate Cyrul says the schedule of the Senate was such that many members would not have been around through the end of the week, making mark-up very hard.

"So rather than starting something that we knew we couldn't finish this week, we decided to hold off," Cyrul says. "The chairman is now looking toward the week of Oct. 22 to resume the mark-up and we will be scheduling something formally in the coming days."

The Senate Finance Committee did not get started on time Thursday with the mark-up of their tax package, but did complete it Thursday night. The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act of 2007 will provide funding for the 2007 Farm Bill and also creates a permanent disaster assistance program for farmers and ranchers hurt by weather-related disasters.

"I commend the Finance Committee leadership of Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Charles Grassley, as well as other committee members, for helping to resolve the single biggest hole in the current farm safety net nationwide," says National Farmers Union President Tom Buis.

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