The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Agricultural Credit Act of 2009 and the Florida National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2009.

The House Agriculture Committee approved both bills for consideration by the House earlier this month.

The Agricultural Credit Act of 2009 (H.R. 3509) would reauthorize funding for the state agricultural mediation grant program. The grants fund state agricultural mediation programs that help agricultural producers, their creditors and various USDA agencies address disputes, including loan problems and USDA adverse decisions.

“The grant program for state agricultural mediation is a good-government program that helps thousands of Americans find practical solutions to loan problems and USDA adverse decisions,” said Collin Peterson, Agriculture Committee chairman. Peterson is the lead sponsor and Frank Lucas, Agriculture Committee ranking member, is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3509, which has attracted bipartisan support.

“I am pleased that my colleagues in the House joined me in passing the Agriculture Credit Act,” said Lucas. “Like most of the country, the agriculture sector is currently experiencing increased financial stress, which has created a greater need for the service of the agriculture mediator program. This program provides our farmers and ranchers with a voluntary and low cost service to mediate disputes that may arise between their creditors, or to address adverse decisions with USDA.”

The Florida National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2009 (H.R. 3954) would authorize the conveyance of 114 acres in Leon County and would allow the U.S. Forest Service to make equivalent land exchanges within the Ocala and Apalachicola National Forests to better and more efficiently manage the lands. The bill would also clarify some boundary issues by allowing a survey to be conducted on certain areas of Florida state forestland.

“The Florida delegation has worked across the aisle to develop this bipartisan legislation to improve Florida’s forestland management,” Peterson said.

The House passed the Florida National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2009 by a vote of 418-1 and the Agricultural Credit Act of 2009 by a vote of 382-26.