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Breaking Senate Farm Bill News ...

As the print version of this newsletter went to press, Senators Kent Conrad and Saxby Chambliss forced a phony payment limitation provision into the Senate Agriculture Committee farm bill proposal. Its purpose is to make it harder to pass true reform when the farm bill comes before the full Senate.

Act Now for Rural America

As we go to press the U.S. Senate is poised to take up their version of the 2007 Farm Bill. With any luck the bill will be either on the floor, or headed for conference committee by the time you are reading this. If the bill is on the Senate floor, a quick call to your U.S. Senators will help move the debate in the right direction.

Development Matters

The foundations, agencies, institutions, and churches that provide a majority of the funds for our ongoing programs are crucial partners, and to them we are exceedingly grateful.

However, in order to stand up for rural America when it matters most, we must be prepared to respond to new and unique challenges and opportunities as they arise. Our ability to respond depends on your individual gifts because other support often cannot be brought to bear in time.

Conservation Spending in the Farm Bill

One of the most pressing issues in the farm bill is whether or not conservation spending will be increased and those dollars targeted to beef up the Conservation Security Program (CSP) and improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) into a newly combined program called the Comprehensive Stewardship Incentives Program.

When Farm Bill Priorities Are Misplaced, Rural Communities Suffer

Since the House of Representatives passed their 2007 Farm Bill, the Center for Rural Affairs has roundly criticized its flawed provisions – especially regarding payment limits – while praising the good ones. In turn, we have been criticized ourselves for being too “confrontational” and not understanding the need for farm bill “compromise.” Evidently, we’re supposed to put in our two cents early in the farm bill process, and then sit back and be pleased with whatever crumbs our elected representatives feel like tossing our way.

That isn’t going to happen, and I can tell you why – because we live and work in rural America. So do most of our supporters. We see the effects of poorly designed rural policy every day. Our hometown of Lyons, Nebraska suffers because of misplaced priorities and decades of rural policy that has had the effect of decimating rural communities.

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