U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sounds as if he has given up hope for House passage of the Senate version of a Farm Bill. “It was a good bill. It eliminated direct support payments, which, even most agriculture producers admitted, just outlived their usefulness,” says Durbin. “It beefed up the crop insurance program, which, most ag producers will tell you, that’s what we need: we need protection for those years when things go bad.”
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“I was one of only 24 Democrats to support the initial version” in the House, says U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline), who is on the House Agriculture Committee. “Everything became unglued, and we have a version that ended up passing the House – that I did not support – that literally 500 agricultural related groups throughout the country said, do not vote for this.” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says some Farm Bill programs expire at the end of this month.