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Thursday, Nov 08 2012 11:00 PM

The dust has settled, so let's have a farm bill

By The Bakersfield Californian

The stock market was happy just to have a winner in this week's presidential election, and it almost didn't matter who it was. Wall Street likes certainty regardless. Farming enterprises are the same way: It's difficult to make business decisions without the field having first been plowed. That's why the House of Representatives must get its act together and pass a farm bill, and soon.

It's true that much of the farm bill is oriented toward Midwest commodity crops. But there's a portion that impacts California and Central Valley farmers as well. Included in the last farm bill was first-time funding to promote speciality crops, like the fruits, vegetable and nuts grown here. Specifically, the money helped fund crop research and expand export markets. Funding was included for pest management. These programs remain in both the Senate version of the farm bill, which passed earlier this year, and in a House committee draft farm bill, which has yet to go to the floor for a vote.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently pledged to work together to address the looming fiscal cliff. A good place to start implementing that pledge is with a new farm bill.

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