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Trio of Minnesota farm bill negotiators back compromise bill

WASHINGTON — Rep. Collin Peterson, one of the major negotiators, said he backs the bill even though it doesn’t include a dairy provision he had pushed.

Rep. Collin Peterson said, "I am pleased that we were able to work together, putting aside partisanship to finally advance a five-year farm bill."
Creative Commons/David Morris

WASHINGTON — The three Minnesotans on the farm bill conference committee support the compromise legislation negotiators released on Monday.

The final farm bill will save about $23 billion over 10 years, mostly of which comes from farm programs, including ending direct subsidies to farmers. The bill would cut $8 billion from the food stamp program, well below the $40 billion House Republicans wanted last summer, by setting new limits on who is eligible to receive aid (here’s an explainer on how negotiators reached that total).

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee and one of four chief farm negotiators, said in a statement that while he doesn’t back everything in the compromise. “I believe my reservations are outweighed by the need to provide long term certainty for agriculture and nutrition programs,” he said.

Peterson and House Speaker John Boehner had sparred over creating a new dairy support system in the final bill. Peterson supported the program but Boehner vehemently opposed it, and Boehner won out in the end. (Boehner has voted against the last two farm bills but he said Monday he would support the current deal.)

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Even so, Peterson said, “I am pleased that we were able to work together, putting aside partisanship to finally advance a five-year farm bill.”

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tim Walz, both members of the joint House and Senate farm bill conference committee, released statements supporting the legislation, which the House will try to pass this week.

The deal was is “a long time coming for the farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Minnesota and across the country,” Klobuchar said. Farm programs were initially up for renewal in 2012, but Congress couldn’t reach a deal until now.

Further reading:

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.