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New Ag Committee Chair Will Support Reforms

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the incoming chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says he will push for some reforms in the 2007 farm bill.

Mandatory country-of-origin labeling and federal reforms on livestock producer contracts have the support of the incoming chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who strongly backed COOL for retail meat in discussions on the 2002 farm bill, says he will again push for COOL in the 2007 farm bill debate.

A bill Harkin introduced in February that did not move in Congress, called the Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act of 2006, will lay the foundation for the new farm bill, Harkin says. That bill, co-sponsored by Wyoming Republican Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi, creates a special USDA counsel dealing with matters of competition and sets up "new protections for producers in contract arrangements," according to Harkin's agricultural newsletter.

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