Agreement on amendments clears way for farm bill

06/19/2012 12:07:00 PM
Tom Karst

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A bipartisan agreement to consider 73 amendments to the farm bill has cleared the way for full Senate debate of the legislation.

Voting on the amendments is expected to begin June 19 at 2:15 EST and likely continue into June 20, according to Adam Jentleson, communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry said in a statement that growers need the certainty of the 2012 farm bill to expand the economy.

“We are now closer than ever to achieving real reform in America’s agriculture policy,” she said in the statement.

Industry leaders welcomed the accord.

The 73 amendments trims by more than two-thirds of the full list of 302 amendments that lawmakers submitted for the farm bill.

“We’re pleased overall that we have an agreement to move forward and move on to consideration of the farm bill,” said Ken Barbic, senior director for federal government affairs for the Washington, D.C. Barbic said specialty crop leaders are watching several amendments, including one offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would fund a feasibility study for food recall insurance.

Other amendments industry leaders are watching include one that seeks to reduce export promotion funding for the Market Access Program. Another amendment would eliminate assessments for U.S. Department of Agriculture marketing and promotion orders.

An amendment offered by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that would change the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools to allow frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables did not make the list of 73 approved for debate.



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