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Neil hawks Farm Bill. Will it happen?

Neil Young looked  like an album cover during his appearance at a recent Farm Bill press conference – black fedora, sunglasses, muttonchop sideburns, green “Go Family Farms” tee, according to a Washington Post blog.

Musician Neil Young talks with Sen. Debbie Stabenow at the National Farmers Union rally on Capitol Hill Monday. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Musician Neil Young talks with Sen. Debbie Stabenow at the National Farmers Union rally on Capitol Hill Monday. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Congress has tried and failed for more than a year to complete a new five-year farm bill. Now, with Congress embroiled in a fierce debate over whether to intervene in Syria, some are worried the chance to act this year on time may have already passed, U.S. News Weekly reported:

“Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., voiced her frustration Monday during a press conference with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as farm advocate musician Neil Young,  that the bill has been left waiting in the balance for far too long. In an attempt to garner more attention for the agriculture bill long-time family farm advocate Young also made the case for action.”

The Post said Neil “Sounded passionate, if a little windy. Spoke without notes for 10 minutes touching on family farmers, the plight of Native Americans near Canadian oilsand developments, and fuel-efficient speeds (“It’s better to drive 55 than 75”). Back story: Young arrived at the rally via a meandering cross-continent trip in his converted bio-electric ’59 Lincoln. “When the electrity runs out, the American farmers and the Canadian farmers and the crops that you grow make this car go. . . Some people are saying cars don’t run right [on ethanol]. . . That’s disinformation.”


Soundbite: “I love what [ethanol] smells like and how it makes my car go. . . It’s a beautiful fuel.”

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, giving Congress just nine working days to pass a comprehensive bill.

Politics forced the  House to drag its feet on the farm bill this summer. Internal GOP squabbles over how much money should be spent on the country’s food assistance programs, forced the House to separate the agricultural portion of the bill from the nutrition title. As it stands now, the House has passed an agriculture bill, but has not voted on a bill to reform food stamps.


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