Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Major Farm Bill

Last Thursday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed by an overwhelming majority the 2007 Farm Bill, The Food and Energy Security Act.

The measure continues and improves farm income protection and makes historic investments for the future in energy, conservation, nutrition and rural development initiatives – all while staying within strict budget limits.  The full Senate must now consider the bill.

Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) today hailed the bill’s passage, “This is a forward-looking farm bill with greatly strengthened initiatives to support renewable energy, conservation, nutrition, rural development and to promote better diets and health for all Americans.  It maintains a strong safety net for farm producers, and strengthens programs that will help agricultural producers of all kinds across our nation.”

The energy title provides investments in farm-based energy by creating initiatives with financial incentives to help farmers transition into biomass crops, and supports the construction of biorefineries from cellulose ethanol with a loan guarantee program that will provide up to 80 percent of total project cost with a loan cap of $250 million.  The bill expands markets for biobased products, and invests in farm-based energy R&D, and in helping farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses move to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

To view the chairman’s mark of the bill and amendments that were accepted by the Committee, please visit http://agriculture.senate.gov/.

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