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Grassley recommends ways to spend newly freed farm bill funds

Agriculture.com Staff 10/10/2007 @ 9:43pm

The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest, and Horticulture Act of 2007-- the agriculture tax package -- passed out of the Senate Finance Committee last week, freeing up some of the funds previously spoken for in the new farm bill.

Today, Senator Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on that committee, told Iowa agricultural journalists how he would like to see those newly freed funds spent.

Grassley urged Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss to use those dollars for conservation programs and value-added agriculture. He would also like to see some of the money go to the African-American farmers who were denied entry in the Pigford settlement case.

"The Finance Committee did its job of looking for more money to help the Farm Bill and came up with more than $3 billion. I'd like to see those dollars directed right back into programs for our state such as conservation and keeping the Value Added Producer Grants fully funded," Grassley said. "Conservation is a critical piece to our rural economies and protection of our natural resources. In fact, we just created more than $5 billion in conservation-related tax credits in the Finance Committee bill. The Value Added Producer Grants have developed new products in our state and created jobs in rural Iowa.

"In the end, I also would hope the chairman and ranking member direct a portion of this funding to the black farmers who were discriminated against by USDA and haven't had an opportunity to have their claims heard," Grassley added. "It's time to stop expecting somebody else to get it done and help these people."

The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest, and Horticulture Act of 2007-- the agriculture tax package -- passed out of the Senate Finance Committee last week, freeing up some of the funds previously spoken for in the new farm bill.

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