Iowa U-S Senator Tom Harkin is jubilant over the long-awaited house-senate compromise worked out on a federal farm bill. The chair of the senate agriculture committee says he feels like he’s been practically a prisoner to the need to get a bill completed. He says it shows what you can do when you work together.Harkin says there’s a lot for Iowa farmers to like in the new federal bill. While the bill does not contain a clause barring meatpacker ownership of livestock on the farm, it holds plenty of details like energy and conservation incentives.He says there’s also a better safety net for farmers, conservation incentives, and money for rural economic development. One clause favored by both Harkin and Iowa senator Chuck Grassley was a ban on meatpacking firms owning livestock while it’s still on the farm. The packer-ownership ban didn’t make it, but a measure that did will require labeling meats, fish and other food as to the country where they were grown and packed. Harkin says this is the first farm bill with an energy “title” and that survived conference committee, too.
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