U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says she hopes the Senate Agriculture Committee agreement on a new farm bill draft will offer "leverage" for Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., to get similar bipartisan support for a companion bill moving forward in the House.
Klobuchar said the agreement on the bill showed strong bipartisan work between Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kans., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. She said a markup of the bill has been scheduled for June 13. Then she hopes it will be approved by the committee and quickly moved on to the floor for a vote.
Klobuchar said there are some committee members who may want to add amendments, but she said, "At this time, I'm pleased with the agreement," and didn't have any planned.
Klobuchar said the House hasn't yet produced a bill and said she was grateful for "much more of a bipartisan effort in the Senate, and it's been going on for months."
Klobuchar said the bill continues a "strong safety net" and extends sugar provisions unchanged. She said the bill continues support of crop insurance and improves the funding for dairy farmers' profit margin protection. She had personal interest in improvements in funding for vaccination programs for avian flu, a disease that attacked the region's important turkey producers in recent years.
She noted she and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., have together worked for offering a better transfer of conservation and production data to farmers to help in their farm practice decisions over such things as pesticides.
She said the Upper Midwest has strong bipartisan regional representation on the committee, putting it in a good position to affect provisions important in this region. She noted that both senators from several states — Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa — all are members of the committee.