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S.Dak. Farm Group Optimistic Farm Bill Nearing Approval

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April 17, 2008

Huron, SD – News that Congressional consideration of the national farm bill is being extended another week is good news to the South Dakota Farmers Union. State president Doug Sombke says his organization sees the one-week extension announced Wednesday as an indicator that a final agreement is near.

"To me the extension says two things. First of all, they're close to an agreement, which explains why the extension isn't that long. And of course, the other thing is the sooner the better. Congressman Peterson stated that he doesn't expect to have the need for a long-term extension and they hope to have a bill on the President's desk by the 9th of May. So that's a good sign." Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota chairs the House Agriculture Committee.

Sombke complimented policy makers for putting forth a good effort. And he says pinning negative remarks on either party won't help anyone in rural America.

"We farmers are doing what we've always done, even though the farm bill hasn't been written yet. We calve cows. We prepare for spring planting and we're going to go on through the harvest. So no matter how this farm bill ends up, we'll still be doing what we do. The farm bill is probably one of the biggest and most important pieces of legislation to all Americans and I think it will also help stabilize some of these market jitters we're seeing for our commodities."

Sombke says more than ever, everyone needs to buckle down and work together to ensure that Congress and the President approve a bill. He's also optimistic the legislation will include a disaster provision for farmers hard-hit by drought and floods in recent years.

The national farm bill sets agriculture policy for a five-year period.

David Law/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - SD