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A new farm bill by 2018?

By Staff | Oct 10, 2016

“I am surprised I haven’t heard more in my town meetings around Iowa about the plight of farmers.” -Charles Grassley R-Iowa

FORT?DODGE – U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley is anticipating action on a new farm bill when spring 2017 arrives.

“I expect the farm issue to be such a major issue next spring when people try to refinance, that there will be a big push to preempt the 2018 crop year with a new farm bill,” Grassley said in an interview Monday.

Under normal circumstances, a new farm bill would take effect in 2019, he said.

But Grassley, Iowa’s senior senator, anticipates farmers having trouble with refinancing.

“I am surprised I haven’t heard more in my town meetings around Iowa about the plight of farmers,” he said. “I think if I am re-elected and I start holding my town meetings next spring, I am going to hear a lot of problems with farmers refinancing.”

Republican Grassley is being challenged in his bid for re-election by Democrat Patty Judge, a former lieutenant governor.

“When farmers get their crops out and go to the bank it might be hard to borrow money,” Grassley added.

Farm bills are traditionally passed every five years or so, Grassley said.

The bill includes federal loan programs that help farmers.

Grassley said the new bill would likely take all of 2017 to finish.

On an unrelated matter, Grassley talked about the effectiveness of oil pipelines.

He did not comment specifically on the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a project Grassley did not have a vote on.

“It seems to me with all the disasters we have had from train derailments and polluting as a result of train derailments, you probably do less damage to the environment with a pipeline than you would with rail transportation,” he said.

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline would stretch 348 miles across Iowa, to move oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux, other tribes, landowners and environmental groups have said the project infringes on land rights and other sacred sites.

In March, the Iowa Utilities Board granted Texas-based Dakota Access LLC the right to use eminent domain to build on the land of unwilling landowners.

“The eminent domain laws have to be followed,” Grassley said. “They might differ from state to state, but the eminent domain laws have to be followed. I presume with the high percentage of people signing up for it that the landowners are relatively satisfied with the way it worked or they wouldn’t settle because there is relief in the courts, you know, if you aren’t satisfied with negotiations between you and the company.”

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