Congress fixes misinterpretation of farm bill base-acre provision


WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to suspend for the 2008 crop year a farm billprovision that required producers to have a minimum of 10 base-acres to receive program benefits.

The House and Senate each passed by unanimous consent the Senate amendment to H.R. 6849, originally sponsored by Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, Chairman of the House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee.

Technical corrections

H.R. 6849, as amended by the Senate, makes technical corrections to the permanent crop disaster program included in the 2008 farm bill.

It also temporarily reverses the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s published notice regarding the farm bill’s 10 base-acre provision, which would have denied farm program benefits to hundreds of thousands of producers nationwide by refusing to allow for the aggregation of small base acreage.

The House had already passed a version of H.R. 6849 on Sept. 24 which would have suspended the 10 base-acre provision for two years and was fully paid for under Congressional Paygo rules.

The Senate amended the bill to provide just a one year fix.

The bill will now be sent to the president for his signature.

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