U.S. Senate farm bill would have various effects in La.
Congress is crafting its farm bill, and so far regional agriculture professionals are looking at a mixed crop. As The (Houma) Courier reports, sugarcane producers have managed to get a minor win out of the Senate-passed bill, while others like rice farmers are fighting what they decry as "unfair" provisions. The House, beginning with its Agriculture Committee, has next crack at the bill, which will replace the current five-year plan expiring in September. Fearing that not all Louisiana farmers would fare well under the proposal, both of the state's U.S. senators voted against the legislation last week. Before he voted in opposition, Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, attached an amendment to the bill that he says aimed to close loopholes in the federal animal-fighting law related to attendance at dogfights and cockfights. Vitter, who described such activities as "garish spectacles," says the cons outweighed the pros, such as an expansion of the federal food-stamp program. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, has voiced concerns that the bill would have drastic consequences for Louisiana's rice farmers. If the bill goes unchanged, rice farmers would face a reduction in assistance of 65%, compared to 30% for other commodities. Read the full story here.
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