Fri August 3, 2012
U.S. House Approves Drought Relief for Farmers
The U.S. House has approved a controversial bill aimed at helping farmers who are suffering from the drought.
If signed into law, the bill would retroactively extend several disaster assistance programs that expired in 2011. Backers say the bill will bring much relief to farmers. But, critics say those programs don’t benefit all farmers, Wisconsin Farmers Union Government Affairs Director Kara Slaughter says there’s no reason the bill should favor one producer over another, “The programs extended by this disaster bill for example would provide relief to chicken producers , there would be limited assistance for dairy producers.”
To help pay for the assistance, the House wants to impose caps on two popular conservation programs. Wisconsin Democratic Congressman Ron Kind says that would be a mistake, “These voluntary incentive based land and water conservation programs are very important for our family farmers throughout Wisconsin in the upper Midwest. It helps them be good stewards of the land.
The House Agriculture Disaster Assistance bill was introduced by Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. Speaking on the House floor, Lucas said the bill is fiscally responsible, and gives tools to ranchers and farmers who need the help.