Reporting Susie Jones
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO/AP) – As U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar helped volunteers at the Second Harvest Heartland warehouse in Golden Valley, she said she is optimistic that Congress will pass a new long-term farm bill this year.
That would be welcome news to Second Harvest CEO Rob Zeaske.
“We know that the farm bill is around us, being able to support a robust food supply here in the United States,” Zeaske said, “certainly here in Minnesota in the bread basket of the world’s wealthiest nation. But we also know that it’s about making sure that all of our neighbors can take part in that food supply as well.”
Zeaske says in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, one in 10 people experience the stress of hunger on any given day. He says they help to end hunger through a variety of programs.
Doug Peterson, the president of the Minnesota Farmer’s Union, said “As you eat breakfast every morning, you might take it for granted. This is part a big part of it.”
Agriculture, nutrition, and conservation are all part of the puzzle.
Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs with Pheasants Forever, said if the land and water are not protected, there can be no crops grown.
Klobuchar said the Senate version of the bill would cut $24 billion from the deficit. If a bill is not passed by Jan. 15, 2014, she says the bill would revert back to its status in 1949.
“It will mean milk prices would double, the conservation programs would not be in place,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar played an active role in trying to break the political stalemate that led to the federal government shutdown. Now she’s in a House-Senate conference committee that will try to craft a compromise five-year farm bill.
Despite deep divisions between the House and Senate on farm-bill issues such as food stamps, Klobuchar told reporters Friday she thinks they’ll find a solution.
She says that’s because Americans have made it clear they’re angry with gridlock in Washington and want Congress to get things done.
There is a conference committee planning to take up the issue at a meeting on Oct. 28, 2013. Two other Minnesotans are also on that conference committee: Democratic U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar Interview
Second Harvest CEO Rob Zeaske Interview
Minnesota Farmer’s Union President Doug Peterson Interview
Pheasants Forever’s Dave Nomsen Interview
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