Reactions Pour in After House Farm Bill Passage

Most farm groups support the bill, but many are looking for improvements in the Senate version.

Published on: Jul 30, 2007

The House of Representatives passed its farm bill - the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2007 - by a vote of 231-191 Friday. Although legislators voted almost strictly along party lines due largely to a last-minute Democratic addition that Republicans saw as a tax increase, statements issued afterwards have mostly shown support for the bill.

Republicans in the House and the administration were bitter about the Democrats' late addition of measure that collects taxes from businesses that they say are dodging U.S. taxes by setting up offshore headquarters.

Although House Democrats voted almost unanimously in favor of the farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, had some complaints. "The House bill did serious damage to conservation and, in doing so, ignored its tremendous value and potential and its strong support from agricultural producers and conservationists," he said in a statement Friday. "These programs are needed now more than ever because of increased crop production. I am hopeful the Senate can do a better job to fund investments in conservation that will allow us to grow crops that represent the next generation of energy production, like cellulose."

Despite Harkin's discontent, the Renewable Fuels Association issued a statement titled "House Farm Bill Continues Renewable Fuels Momentum," and credited the bill with aiding U.S. energy security and rural development.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman gave a positive review, saying, "For the first time in recent history, no additional funding is provided for commodity programs. At the same time, the bill meets the needs of more of America's farmers by providing $1.6 billion in new funding for specialty crop research, conservation, pest and disease programs, and nutrition."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association gave a mixed review, saying the "bill contains many improvements for cattlemen such as increased funding for conservation programs and some modest fixes to the mandatory country-of- origin labeling law. But flaws remain within the bill such as an Adjusted Gross Income cap and payment limitations for conservation."

Other groups releasing statements backing the bill included the National Farmers Union, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the National Pork Producers Council, and the National Association of Wheat Growers.