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Economists say coronavirus disaster declarations may be the quickest path to reopening; militia groups use virus, Independence Day to recruit followers.

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Trump visits South Dakota's Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore today; nearby tribal leaders object, citing concerns over COVID-19 and a fireworks display. Plus, voter registration numbers are down from this time in 2016.

Proposed Farm Bill takes Steps Forward and Backward

August 7, 2007

"Two versions of the new U.S. Farm Bill will be awaiting Congress when it returns from its summer vacation. Iowa Farmers Union president Chris Petersen says the two proposals both take giant strides in increased funding for sustainable agriculture and beginning farmers but they slide backwards with cuts for the Conservation Security Program and weakening commodity payment limitations. He wants the final version also to enforce anti-trust laws to help keep rural areas in business."

"We've got to get competition back into the marketplace. We need to ban the packers from owning livestock."

Petersen argues that the payment limitation provision actually increases the direct payment caps and at the same time fails to close any of the current loopholes. He sees it as a public relations nightmare for Iowa agriculture.

"We need payment limits. This is taxpayer money. We are catching the heat from the urban people and the urban legislators over how these subsidies are spent."

Petersen is pleased that the House bill includes permanent disaster assistance, country of origin labeling and elimination of the "3-entity rule" which allowed farmers to double their farm payments by incorporating under different names. He'd like to see those provisions in the final version.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA