Farm Action Swirls in D.C. as R-CALF Meets in Omaha
House and Senate look for money to make the farm bill work. Sen. Harkin promotes idea of animal identification.
The ranchers organization R-CALF (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund) met recently in Omaha, Nebraska, the ninth meeting of the stockgrower group. (See picture above; if you don't believe it's an R-CALF convention, count the hats.) And that reminds us here at the Yonder that there is still a lot hanging fire with farm legislation and regulation.
The last week ended with no deal on the farm bill. The administration still promises to veto either the House or Senate versions, saying both are too expensive. The sides are negotiating. Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week, "As Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton toured the land denouncing special interests, giveaways to the rich, home foreclosures, job losses and a middle-class squeeze, back in Washington House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats met behind closed doors on a plan to raise taxes and cut food stamp money to protect billions of dollars for agribusiness, a sector of the economy that is booming."
Meanwhile, Peter Shin at Brownfield Network reports that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin is "looking beyond (the farm bill) to the issue of national animal identification," which Harkin supports. The animal ID proposal has been controversial and it's opposed by R-CALF. (See Yonder articles here and here.) Harkin will hold hearings on the ID proposal in the spring.