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Support for keeping framework

DANIEL LOOKER 12/08/2011 @ 1:29pm Business Editor

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said Thursday that he hopes congressional ag committees won't abandon their work on a farm bill that was submitted to the deficit-cutting "Super Committee" last month.

"I thought we had pretty wide agreement among a lot of us--I'm talking about the Senate Side," said Harkin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and former chairman. 

The agreement crafted by the leaders of both the House and Senate ag committees eliminated direct payments, which Harkin has long opposed. It also backed a revenue protection plan similar to the current law's ACRE (average crop revenue election) program. 

Harkin said there is talk of starting over from scratch on a farm bill, but he favors keeping the so-called framework developed in November as the starting point for a new farm bill. Because the Super Committee failed to submit a bill to Congress to trim the deficit, the ag committees' work went nowhere.

The leaders of the ag committees want to have a new farm bill written by next Memorial Day, Harkin told Agriculture.com. "That's pretty ambitious," he said. 

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