House AG Chair: Growers and Farmers Could Pay for Proposed Disaster Fund

March 12, 2008

The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee is suggesting farmers may have to pay to enroll in a proposed disaster reimbursement program.

Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson said the program reimbursing farmers for weather-related crop losses is one of many sticking points in negotiations over a multibillion-dollar farm bill.

Peterson said the proposed $5 billion fund, a priority for lawmakers from drought-prone states, could be “more explainable to people” if farmers paid to enroll, helping to offset the cost. Some lawmakers have argued money should continue to be paid out on an emergency basis and not funded as part of the farm bill.

Montana Democrat Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he wants at least $4.2 billion set aside for the program. Peterson said that depends on what happens with other parts of the bill.

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