Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bloggers sound off on farm bill

The final details of the 2007 Farm Bill are not going to be hammered out until early 2008, but at least now the House and Senate have passed their individual version of the bill. The final version of the bill will be worked out in conference committee after the holidays.

But based on what we know now, is it a good bill?

Wheat growers, who are currently enjoying a record price for their crop due to low global supplies, like the bill because it include price supports for those down years. Karl Scronce, a Klamath Falls, Ore., wheat rancher and second vice president for the National Association of Wheat Growers, put it this way:

"If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – the direct payment is essential for wheat growers and other agricultural producers. It is predicable from year to year, which provides essential stability for growers, their bankers and their communities; reliable in times of disasters that affect an individual operation or spread to the larger economy and raise prices; and the most World Trade Organization-friendly program we’ve got, which is vital for an industry that exports half its product."
You can read Scronce's full statement by clicking here. And click this link for more from the National Association of Wheat Growers.

Since the Senate passed the bill late last week, some commentary on the bill and its myriad provision have been posted online on blogs and other websites. For example, Jordan J. Ballor on the Acton Institute's PowerBlog, refers to it as "A Fruity Farm Bill" in the headline of a post. I'm quite sure if the reference to funds for specialty crop growers is intended as a good thing or not.

Betsy Newmark, a teacher in North Carolina, is not a fan of the bill. On her blog, Betsy's page, she inclues a post with the headline "Let's give money to the really rich! As long as they're farmers."

Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel points out that the bill passed in the Senate by the largest margin in more than three decades in a post on the NewWest site. That a bit ironic, given that a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't even certain the Senate would vote on the bill at all this year.

Whether or not it is a good bill depends on what you grow and where you grow it.

If you are interested on more farm bill comments from the blogosphere, you may (or may not) find these links via Technorati and Google's blog search helpful.

Feel free to share your comments on the bill here in our post comments or let folks know where your comments may be posted elsewhere. Also look for additional commentary and news coverage on the farm bill in upcoming editions of the Capital Press and online at www.capitalpress.com.

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