Byron Backs Farm Bill

October 28, 1990

WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, voted in favor of the 1990 farm bill Tuesday.

The Democratic representative, whose district includes Carroll, was one of six members of Maryland's congressional delegation voting for the package.

Only two members of the delegation -- Democrat Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, and Republican Constance Morella, R-8th -- voted no Tuesday.

The House easily approved the compromise five-year bill, 318-102. It is the first step in a two-part process that will slash crop subsidies by 25 percent. Congress later will consider a mammoth $500 billion deficit-reduction measure that cuts farm spending by $13.6 billion from 1991-1995, mainly by reducing the acreage on which farmers can receive crop subsidies.

The House bill still must be debated by the Senate. The legislation continues crop subsidy, export and nutrition programs and creates environmental programs, including a 1 million-acre wetlands reserve and national standards for foods labeled as "organically grown."

For the first time, the bill requires farmers to keep records of any dangerous chemicals they use, while limiting access to the data.

The farm bill creates a soybean subsidy program to help U.S. producers regain their slipping share of the world market. But it cuts the maximum farmers can receive under crop subsidy programs to $250,000 a year from the current $500,000.

Finally, the bill strengthens U.S. food donation and low-interest food sales programs to developing nations.

The centerpiece of the budget package is the "15 percent triple-base requirement," under which farmers will not receive federal crop subsidies on 15 percent of their land from 1991 through 1995 but can plant alternative crops.

While some industry officials and lawmakers have predicted that farmers will drop out of farm programs due to the changes, administration officials do not expect big changes.

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