Monday, November 12, 2007

Candidates talk Farm Bill; Grassley doubts forecast it will pass Senate before Thanksgiving

Before Democratic presidential candidates attended the big Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa on Saturday, five of them spoke at the Food and Family Farm Presidential Summit hosted by the National Farmers Union and the Iowa Farmers Union. Sens. Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards pitched many of the same ideas about agriculture, most of which are already in the Senate version of the Farm Bill, reports Agriculture Online.

Obama "touted his support of family farms against corporate agriculture this morning by taking a couple of shots at two very big Illinois businesses, ag processor ADM and food producer ConAgra," reports Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune, quoting the Illinois senator: "The Washington insiders who matter to me live in Washington County, Iowa, not Washington, D.C. That's why as president, I'll be listening to the LRV, not ADM." Pearson explains: "The LRV is the League of Rural Voters and ADM is Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Corp., one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soybeans and corn." (Read more)

While Dodd said he believed the Senate would finish the Farm Bill before the end of this week — the last before the Thanksgiving break — Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the only Republican to attend the summit, was not as optimistic. Since the Farm Bill is the last major legislation of the year, it offers the minority a final chance to speak out on many issues, even ones that aren't related to agriculture, Grassley told Agriculture Online. "I don't know whether we'll be done by Thanksgiving," he told reporter Dan Looker.

As for any compromise between Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to speed up the amendment process, Biden and Grassley said they had not heard anything. "I don't know what McConnell's up to," Biden told Looker. (Read more)

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