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MN Politicians Voice Support Of Farm Bill

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(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the crafting of a compromise five-year farm bill is a critical step toward providing support and certainty for Minnesota farmers.

The Minnesota Democrat was on the conference committee that completed the bill Monday. It now goes to the House and Senate floors for final votes.

Klobuchar says it strengthens the crop insurance program, boosts energy and conservation programs, reduces the deficit, and gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they need. She also says the farm bill maintains the sugar program, which is important for Minnesota’s sugarbeet farmers, and protects nutrition programs, which include food stamps.

She says she successfully fought to support rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and energy programs.

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken is calling for swift passage of the farm bill.

Senate and House negotiators finalized the agreement Monday after two years of struggle. The Minnesota Democrat says getting the bill over the finish line would give Minnesota’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities the certainty they need to plan for the future.

Franken’s statement says the legislation contains several provisions he helped author to help Minnesota. He says the energy section will create jobs and growth in Minnesota’s agriculture energy sector. He says the bill also preserves investments in programs to aid beginning farmers and ranchers. And he says he successfully fought to preserve the federal sugar program, saying the sugar industry contributes thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the Minnesota and regional economy.

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Congressman Tim Walz is urging his colleagues to support the five-year farm bill that’s headed for a floor vote in the House on Wednesday.

The Minnesota Democrat sits on the conference committee that approved the compromise package Monday.

Walz says in a statement that nobody got everything they wanted, and there are things in the bill he doesn’t like. But he says the bill saves taxpayers about $23 billion, helps new farmers, protects habitat, gives consumers certainty at the grocery store, and gives producers the certainty they need to make long-term planning decisions.

The outcome of the House vote isn’t certain. Farm-state lawmakers have been working for more than two years to strike the right balance to get the bill passed at a time when congressional compromise has been rare.

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U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says he’s pleased his colleagues were able to put aside partisanship and assemble a the farm bill.

The Minnesota Democrat is the ranking minority member of the House Agriculture Committee and was a key player in negotiating the compromise completed Monday in a House-Senate conference committee. Peterson had backed dairy production controls that were jettisoned from the final bill to get the support of House Speaker John Boehner.

Peterson says that while it’s no secret he doesn’t support some of the final bill’s provisions, his reservations are outweighed by the need to provide long term certainty for agriculture and nutrition programs. He says he hopes the president quickly signs the bill into law.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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