President Barack Obama on Tuesday also called on Congress to pass a five-year farm bill as quickly as possible. He said it was the single best way to help rural communities in the short- and long-term. In applauding President Obama for his response to the record-setting drought – Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow said the real burden rests on Congress to pass a full five-year farm bill that would provide better disaster relief and the long-term certainty farmers and agriculture businesses need to invest and grow. But Idaho Representative Raul Labrador told those attending the International Sweetener Symposium that he doesn’t believe a five-year bill will be passed this year. He believes the best Congress can deliver is a one-year extension of existing farm policy. House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson told the same group to press for passage of the farm bill when Congress returns to Washington next month. He believes there will be a clamor to pass the five-year farm bill after members spend some time at home. Peterson also warned there are some Republicans in the House that want to postpone farm bill action until the lame-duck session and then try to push the bill to 2013. Peterson said the same lawmakers want to eliminate the sugar and dairy programs, make big cuts in the food stamp program and reduce crop subsidies.
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