Seeking A Pro-Ag Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) says he plans to incorporate into the Senate climate change bill all the farm-friendly provisions that House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) put into the House-passed bill and add even more benefits for agriculture. But Harkin also said he does not expect the Senate to take up the bill on the floor until late fall and, if the pace of health care legislation is slow, he does not expect the Senate to consider the climate change bill on the floor until next year.

In a speech to the National Council of Farmer Co-operatives, Harkin said, "I think Chairman Peterson did one heck of a great job. I plan to incorporate all of what he did in the House and more." Peterson "could only do so much," Harkin said, adding that he believes he can add "more allocations and allowances" because every senator has farm and rural constituents.

In an interview afterward, Harkin said he does not know whether the Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up the climate change bill or whether Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will "blend" the provisions from other committees into the bill. But Harkin added that he is determined that the provisions he wants in the bill will be incorporated before the bill goes to the floor. "I don’t want to offer an amendment," he said.

Harkin said he expected questions about procedure on the bill to be ironed out at a recent meeting called by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at which committee chairmen and other Senators with concerns about the climate change bill were expected to present their views.

Although Reid has said he expects committee consideration of the bill to be finished by Sept. 18, Harkin said he does not believe that the Senate will take up the bill until November or December and that "it could slip until next spring." Harkin added in the interview that "there will be the big push" to finish the climate change bill before the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18 at which countries will try to reach agreement on limiting negative human effects on the climate. But Harkin said the Obama administration may be able to take only a "general outline" to the conference. Health care reform is still the No. 1 priority, Harkin said, adding, "I already see slippage" in the health care calendar. If the full Senate does not pass a health care bill by the end of July, "we won’t get climate change done in December," Harkin said.

The National Council of Farm Co-operatives did not endorse the House-passed bill due to concerns that the bill will raise farm production costs. Bob Looney, a vice president of CHS, a St. Paul, MN-based company owned by co-ops, raised the cost issue July 8 and Harkin assured the co-op leaders that farmers will have a chance to express their concerns about the bill at a July 22 Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. But on the issue of increased fertilizer costs, Harkin said the climate change bill would not have as much of an impact on the cost of natural gas, which is used to make fertilizer, as on coal and oil. Asked how the government is going to pay for the health care and climate change bills, Harkin also told the farm co-op leaders that he is not as concerned about the government going into debt to build up infrastructure as he is about individuals’ "consumptive" borrowing.

(Source: DTN)

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Sells Oxyfluorfen Herbicides To China&…
November 16, 2015
Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co., has entered into definitive agreements under which Nutrichem Read More
HerbicidesEuropean Agency Declares Glyphosate Unlikely To Cause C…
November 13, 2015
Glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Thursday, and the agency Read More