House and Senate negotiators are expected to agree to a new Agriculture appropriations measure that contains emergency aid to U.S. dairy farmers and lifts a two-year-old ban on Chinese poultry imports. The original House-passed bill continued a ban on Chinese poultry imports, but the conference report takes the Senate approach, authorizing USDA to allow Chinese poultry imports once it determines that they meet food safety standards equivalent to those in the United States.
As for helping dairy farmers, the agreement would give U.S. dairy farmers $290 million in direct payments and USDA would spend another $60 million to buy cheese and other dairy products to reduce surpluses that have helped drive down farmers' income.
The dairy agreement was among the last items settled as appropriators worked to produce a final version resolving differences between the two bills. Both bills provide money for agriculture programs, domestic and international food aid and the Food and Drug Administration during fiscal 2010.