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Northey has Farm Bill concerns

July 17, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

SUPERIOR - Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey Wednesday said he was concerned about US House lawmakers leaving out the nutrition piece of their version of the Farm Bill.

Northey offered his opinions on the

Farm Bill and a number of other issues before his remarks at the Green Plains Superior open house Wednesday.

"Most of us didn't see that coming," said Northey, a fourth-generation Dickinson County farmer. "Many of us were worried about the procedure."

Like other lawmakers, though, Northey said there was no way the House version as written will pass the Senate.

"That's not a great precedent. It actually makes you wonder if it will pass the House or not," said Northey.

Northey said the House version also took out what would happen if the Farm Bill didn't pass - essentially taking the farm program back to what it was in the 1950s.

Northey sees piecing out the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill though as a short-term strategy.

"I think it was very short-term just to get something into conference," Northey said.

As for farmers' take on farm legislation, Northey said the Midwest seemed satisfied with the crop insurance program while Southern farmers still seem interest in direct payments and market cyclical payment alternatives. He noted though that all farm groups gathered together to offer one voice on this year's Farm Bill.

In the area of conservation tillage, Northey said the US Environmental Protection Agency seems at this point to be going along with Iowa's voluntary conservation policy.

He said though that the farm community could probably do a better job of getting the word out about one thing - what it's doing right in the area of conservation programs.

"We want to count those things and get the word out to the nonfarming community as well," Northey said.



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