Wellstone, Dayton are satisfied with Farm Bill

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2002

Local Senators welcomed the new farm bill that was passed by the Senate and sent to the President’s desk Wednesday, despite some reservations.

“This bill marks the end of six years of failed farm policy,” Sen. Paul Wellstone said in his news release. “I am proud to have played a role in replacing it with something that will actually help our farmers, not put them out of business.”

The bill will appropriate $73.5 billion over the next 10 years. The money will be allocated to subsidize farm production as well as to fund conservation initiatives, trade assistance, nutrition programs and rural development.

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Minnesota farmers will benefit with $1.16 billion in the first year alone.

Wellstone attributed provisions for a rural telework initiative, country of origin labeling, conservation security program, farm-based renewal energy, expanded food stamp, and national dairy programs to himself, emphasizing his contribution

to changing a national farm policy into a direction that is friendly to Minnesota farmers.

But he was concerned about the result of the House-Senate conference committee, which removed some of his proposals including payment limits to

the largest corporate farms and restrictions on a meat-packer ownership of livestock.

“We won some major fights on this bill, and I plan to keep fighting for these remaining important issues in the Senate,” Wellstone said.

In his statement, Sen. Mark Dayton also expressed disappointment in the compromises made at the conference committee.

“House negotiators refused to accept a bill that looked more like the one we passed in the Senate earlier this year,” Dayton said.

However, Dayton stated the farm bill still brings a positive effect to area farmers that have been battered by years of low farm product prices.

“On balance the bill passed today represents a huge improvement for Minnesota’s farmers. With

Minnesota poised to receive $1.16 billion this year alone, this farm bill is an economic recovery bill for our rural communities,” he said.