An agreement is very near on a new farm bill, according to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. He says both the U.S. House and Senate passed an extension to the massive agricultural measure on Wednesday, one that will run through April 18th.
Harkin says the new Farm Bill will: "ensure that agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs in Iowa and across the country continue without interruption until a new Farm Bill is completed. This extension is a good sign of progress. We wouldn’t have opted for a short-term extension unless we had a strong level of confidence that a Farm Bill deal is within reach within a few more weeks."
Harkin says he’s continuing to meet with colleagues in both chambers and from both parties to work out a final agreement, particularly in how the ten-billion dollars in new funding will be used. Harkin says "there’s a lot a stake for Iowa" in the Farm Bill, as the Senate version would provide an extra 11-million dollars a year for conservation programs within the state, and more than a billion dollars for investments in farm-based renewable energy, "moving us aggressively into cellulose ethanol." Earlier versions of the Farm Bill were expected to go to a vote months ago, in November and December.