Senator Predicts Tight Budget for Farm Bill

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says it appears the spending baseline will be about $18 billion lower for the farm bill in 2007 than in 2002.

Congress will likely allocate about $18 billion fewer for the 2007 farm bill spending baseline than in 2002, according to Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Grassley told Iowa Farmers Union on Tuesday that with commodity prices higher this year, spending is likely to be down on the farm bill. However, he hopes to get at least some of the $18 billion back for areas such as conservation programs and biofuel development. These programs may stand to lose the most if the budget is smaller this year, Grassley says: ""I think it's going to be more difficult to take money away from crop support programs."

However, Grassley is hopeful that some of the money could be restored. Two Senators that would be influential in the farm bill budget - Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Agriculture Committee chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa - are both from farming states, and Harkin has already called for more spending on the bill. The House of Representatives may be less inclined to restore the funds, Grassley says.

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