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Farm Bill Passes Senate Agriculture Committee

Next step is Senate floor approval.

Committee mark-up of the Senate Farm Bill is finally complete. The Senate Agriculture Committee finished marking the bill up Thursday and now send it to the whole Senate.

"I'm pleased with the bill, and glad that it's moving forward," says Tom Buis, president of the National Farmers Union. "We still have a lot of work to do to get the final legislation."

Buis commended the committee on inclusion of permanent disaster aid, the ban of packer ownership as part of the competition title, and Country-of-Origin Labeling. However, he is not enamored with the Average Crop Revenue program that was included in the bill, but is not opposed as long as it is an optional program.

Something that was not included was a hard-cap on payment limitation, although Buis expects the Dorgan-Grassley amendment that will be introduced on the floor will garner quite a bit of support from much of the Senate.

Just about everyone is glad the farm bill is moving forward, but several groups are disappointed with the level of conservation funding in the bill. The National Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Walton League and Environmental Defense all voice support for the over $4 billion in conservation that was included, but also feel funding for conservation should be higher.

The Senate is expected to have a full debate on the Committee-passed farm bill, possibly as early as Oct. 30.

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