Carnahan, Bond split on farm bill
WASHINGTON -- Splitting along party lines, Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan supported and Republican Sen. Kit Bond opposed the Senate-written farm bill.
Passed on a 58-40 vote, the measure limits subsidies to farmers, adds new payments for crops including milk, honey, wool and lentils and doubles conservation spending. It also bans meatpackers from owning their own supplies of livestock.
The House passed a different version, and negotiators from each chamber will hammer out a final version in the coming weeks.
Like Bond, Carnahan opposed the limit on subsidies to farmers, but she called the overall measure "a major improvement over the current 'Freedom to Farm' bill that offers virtually no safety net to farmers, instead forcing them to rely on unpredictable emergency payments."
She added that the bill includes provisions that would permanently extend Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections for family farmers and allow armyworm damage to qualify for emergency cash payments.
Bond saw good news, too, in "that the farm bill is on its way out of the Senate and to the conference where it can be completed in a bipartisan fashion."
But he said the Senate's bill was too partisan.