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Senate to Take Up Schafer Nomination

Ag committee to meet Thursday to examine the former North Dakota governor.

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer's nomination as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

The hearing is scheduled to take place from 3-5 p.m.

Gov. Schafer's examination is not expected to be controversial. He could be confirmed by the full Senate shortly after the hearing.

Speculation has begun on Gov. Schafer's possible impact on farm bill negotiations.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Charles Connor said at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association meeting in Sioux Falls earlier this month that President Bush wouldn't accept either the House or Senate versions of the bill. He called for lower payment limitations and less money. He says the House and Senate versions will cost more than the Bush administration finds acceptable.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was recently quoted as saying that he welcomes Gov. Schafer's involvement in writing the farm bill. Since Secretary Connor has worked with Congress on the bill for several years, "it could be helpful to have new eyes put on this," Conrad said.

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