Max Baucus (D-MT), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee proposed a tax package that would free up money for the Agriculture Committee to use in the Farm Bill.
Baucus proposes giving landowners tax credits for conservation programs rather than cash payments. He also outlined setting up a trust fund for disaster losses that aren't covered by crop insurance, but no date was set for the committee to write the package.
"We are discussing both the details of the Finance Committee's ideas and the level of funding help they would provide toward the farm bill," says Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Agriculture Committee. "We still have a way to go in these discussions in order to meet crucial needs for strong farm income protection and investments in conservation, nutrition, energy, rural development and specialty crops initiatives."
Baucus' outline also proposed the use of tax credits instead of payments to landowners that participate in the Grassland and Wetlands reserves as well as the Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program.