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Peterson thinks new farm bill will be approved this summer

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WILLMAR, Minn. – U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson believes a new federal farm bill could be approved before Congress’ August recess.

In a visit to Willmar on Friday, the congressman said there is more farm bill-related activity in the House this year than a year ago, when the bill was never brought to a vote in the full House.

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House leaders have told him they want to get a bill done this year, said Peterson, who serves as the House Agriculture Committee’s ranking Democratic member.

Peterson said it’s unclear how many votes the Republicans will have for the bill, but he believes many members are getting pressure from their farming constituents. The farm bill covers food stamps and school meal programs along with agriculture programs.

Peterson said he has suggested to Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., that they take the bill to the floor, lobby for it and see if the votes are there.

The bill still faces some hurdles. The Senate is scheduled to debate the bill early next week and is expected to approve it. Peterson said he believes the House will finish voting on a final bill by July 1. A conference committee would meet in July, giving both chambers a chance to approve a bill before the August recess.

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