Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to suspend for the 2008 crop year a farm bill provision that required producers to have a minimum of 10-base acres to receive program benefits. The House and Senate each passed by unanimous consent the Senate amendment to H.R. 6849, originally sponsored by Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, chairman of the House agriculture general farm commodities and risk-management subcommittee.
H.R. 6849, as amended by the Senate, makes technical corrections to the permanent crop-disaster program included in the 2008 Farm Bill. It also temporarily reverses USDA's published notice regarding the farm bill's 10 base-acre provision, which would have denied farm program benefits to many producers nationwide by refusing to allow for the aggregation of small-base acreage.
"This is good news for thousands of farmers who rent or lease smaller tracks of land. It allows farmers to continue to receive payments for the work they do on small farms, and ensures that our rural economy stays strong," says Etheridge. "I will begin working immediately to provide a permanent solution to USDA's extremely narrow interpretation of the 10-base-acre provision."
The House had already passed a version of H.R. 6849 on Sept. 24, that would have suspended the 10-base-acre provision for two years and was fully paid for under Congressional Paygo rules. The Senate amended the bill to provide just a one-year fix.
The bill will now be sent to President Bush for his signature.
Source: U.S. House Agriculture Committee