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Farm Bill – Better Late Than Never?

December 10, 2007

Ottawa, OH – If patience is a virtue, Ohio farmers are plenty virtuous, as they continue to hold off planting until the U.S. Senate acts on the Farm Bill. Roger Crossgrove, executive director of the Ohio Farmers Union, hopes the Senate takes quick action, because farmers in the state need to know what's in the bill as they make financial and planting arrangements for next season.

Cosgrove says it was a long time in the making, but a deal to bring the Farm Bill to the full Senate for debate is good news for Ohio farmers. He says planning is tough when farmers don't know what's in store with such federal policies as disaster relief and safety net programs.

"Without knowing what's going to be in the Farm Bill, whether they're going to continue what we had or have something new, everybody's in limbo."

Crossgrove emphasizes the bill contains key items for Ohio farmers, including help for fruit and vegetable growers and support for cellulosic ethanol research. One thing he'd like to see added is a law to make the livestock market more competitive by limiting meat processors' ability to own their own herds.

"It's very difficult when they control the livestock. That would be a benefit to Ohio farmers, because there's just very little open market any more."

Crossgrove points out there's good news for Ohio's non-farmers in the current version of the Farm Bill, too, including boosts in nutrition programs for low-income families, conservation programs to help preserve soil and water quality, and country-of-origin labeling that he says will help protect consumer safety.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - OH