The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Senate approves farm bill amendments on alfalfa, food aid

The Senate resumed debate on the farm bill late this afternoon, and approved amendments to develop a crop insurance program for alfalfa and to increase the amount that may be used purchase local food for international food aid.

The first vote, 72-18, approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to require the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to carry out research and development regarding a crop insurance program for alfalfa.

The amendment had the support of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who in a brief floor speech said the amendment “follows the philosophy” of the rest of the farm bill.

The second amendment, approved by voice vote without debate, would increase the amount of international food aid money that may be used for local purchases from $40 million per year to $60 million. The amendment was offered by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

Stabenow also spoke in favor of this amendment, saying it would “modestly increase the authority for the local and regional food procurement program.”

After the amendments were approved, Stabenow reminded colleagues that she still hopes to complete the farm bill by the end of the week. “It is important that we complete this job,” she said.

Senate business was delayed as many senators took the floor to remember Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., their five-term colleague who died earlier today at age 89.