AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Ann M. Veneman commended the efforts of Senators Tom Harkin, Richard Lugar and other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee following its approval of its new farm bill. But she did not endorse the legislation or indicate whether President Bush would veto it.

“Several members, including Republican Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, introduced important language that was consistent with the administration's principles and deserved closer attention by the committee,” she said. “It is our hope that the full Senate will further examine these issues as they move forward on crafting new legislation.”

The secretary said any new farm legislation must work within the budget resolution passed earlier this year and minimize trade and market distorting effects of the programs. “We are hopeful that by working together a final bill can be produced that is good, long-term policy, stays within the budget parameters and meets the needs of our farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

See Page 1 report on Senate bill