Friday Roundup: Farm Bill Extension

House may pass one year extension of Farm Bill • Alexander Payne is looking for ranchers to be in 'Nebraska' • Defense and Veterans officials frustrated over health care delays

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Jerry Hagstrom at DTN is reporting that House leaders may pass a one year extension of the current Farm Bill next week. That bill would also include livestock and fruit and vegetable disaster aid. 

“If you’re going to provide certainty out in the drought areas, if you’re going to enable an orderly transition from the completion of the regular farm bill, then a one-year [extension] makes sense,” House Ag committee chair Frank Lucas, the Oklahoma Republican, said. The National Journal reports that House leaders have agreed to this makeshift plan. 

But, House Speaker John Boehner did not say if anything else might be attached to this Farm Bill extension.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate ag committee, is not enthralled with this plan. She sent a comment to Hagstrom:

“If the House intends to send us a bill that will be used to negotiate the farm bill during August, I am open to that approach. However, a short-term extension is bad for farmers and our agricultural economy. If Congress does what Congress always does and kicks the can down the road with a short-term extension, there will be no reform, direct payments will continue, we’ll lose the opportunity for major deficit reduction and we’ll deliver a real blow to our economic recovery. What’s important is at the end of the day we give our farmers certainty with a full farm bill and keep our agriculture economy growing.”

• Movie Director Alexander Payne’s next film is titled “Nebraska” and he’s now in the state scouting out locations and, maybe, ranchers to play speaking roles. 

“We’ve done a lot of outreach,” casting director John Jackson said Wednesday evening, having just returned from casting work in Des Moines. “We’re trying to get word to rural communities across Nebraska.”

Payne was born in Omaha. His latest movie was The Descendants, which stared George Clooney and was set in Hawaii. That film won Payne an Oscar for the screenplay.

The Omaha World-Herald describes “Nebraska“:

Payne confirmed by email early Thursday that most of the movie will be shot in his home state, despite a pitch from Illinois, a state that has film tax incentives.

While most of the story takes place in a fictitious small town called Hawthorne, Neb., Payne said a few scenes will be shot around Billings, Mont., and in Rapid City, S.D. Durbin said one scene will be shot at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills. “Nebraska” is the story of an aging, boozy, cantankerous dad who wants his estranged son to accompany him from Billings to Lincoln to claim $1 million he thinks he’s won in a sweepstakes. Jackson said Payne hopes to soon lock down contracts with Dern and Forte to play the father and son.

“It’s about a family,” Jackson said. “It’s about reconnecting. All the more reason to get people from rural Nebraska to play these characters’ family and friends.”

• Top federal officials say they are frustrated by their attempts to streamline health care for wounded veterans — and by the high rates of military suicide and the backlog of disability claims. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki appeared together before the House Veterans Affairs committee. 

“Secretary Shinseki and I share the same frustration,” Panetta said in response to questioning from Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) “We’ve been working on this, and frankly, we’ve been pushing, to try to say why can’t we get faster results, why can’t we get this done on a faster track.

“Bottom line is, frankly, we’re just going to have to kick ass and try to make it happen, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

• The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approved a permit for a large hog operation in Poweshiek County in a meeting closed to the public. The operation is opposed by county officials. 

• The Wall Street Journal reports that county officials in Texas “are struggling to patrol and maintain once-isolated country roads and bridges that are now teeming with trucks hauling materials to and from the state’s proliferating gas and oil wells.” 

 

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