Iowan Senator Tom Harkin says he likes the initial details he’s seen of the proposed farm bill, but he wants to see more. Harkin, a democrat, is the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Harkin says the country needs to change its course in agriculture. Harkin says: "Their proposal tends to start moving us in a new direction and I’m happy about that. But, I think it needs a little bit of fine tuning, and that’s what we intend to do here in the Congress."
The U.S. Ag Secretary talked about the farm bill proposal in a stop Wednesday in Des Moines. One of the proposals is to cap support payments based on the farmer’s income. Harkin says he’d like to look more at the cap proposal and hold hearings to see if it’s the proper way to go.
Harkin says the caps aren’t quite the way it was done in the proposed farm bill in 2002, when a cap was put on the payment limits in the Senate. Those caps were later cut out by the House and Harkin says he’s not sure if the new caps would be based on adjusted gross income or not. Harkin says the House will once again likely have an impact on the final product.
Harkin says he doesn’t know what the House is going to do on payment limits, but Harkin says there’ll probably be a better deal on the payment limits this time around. Harkin says one area he’s concerned with is the amount of money budgeted to increase the use of ethanol. Harkin says the budget doesn’t include enough money to get near the goal of 35-billion gallons of ethanol use by 2017. Harkin says this is one area "we’re going to have to massage a lot in the farm bill."