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House, Senate leaders predict swift passage of farm bill

Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are optimistic that the long-overdue U.S. farm bill will pass, although the House of Representatives vote set for Wednesday could be the more difficult hurdle.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that there are a number of House members — both liberal and conservative — who are opposed to the massive piece of legislation unveiled on Monday by congressional negotiators.

Propane crisis becomes hot topic

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Minnesotans living in a quarter-million rural homes depend on propane for heat, but soaring prices and shortages that experts predict will get worse are sending chills down their backs.
Businesses and farmers are in the same situation, as are businesses that sell the fuel.
Gov. Mark Dayton declared the situation a crisis Tuesday after meeting with dozens of key people in the Minnesota propane industry, from farm leaders to propane wholesalers to those who sell it to customers.
“This is not going to go away soon,” the Democrat said.

OPINION: Farm bill deserves Congress’ support

Hardline conservatives are likely to vote against it. Zealous liberals are likely to do the same.
And that suggests the farm bill’s conferees got it straight down the middle.
Congratulations to North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson and others on the House-Senate conference committee, who didn’t let the one of the most fractious and partisan environments in decades stop them from crafting a compromise farm bill.

Australian cattle farmers set for drought-relieving rains

Australian cattle farmers will receive much-needed rains in the next two days, forecasters said on Wednesday, offering some relief to ranchers struggling to keep animals alive during a period of prolonged drought in the world’s No. 3 beef exporter.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said much of prime Queensland pastoral land, which is home to almost 50 percent of the national herd, will receive more than 50 millimeters of rain over the next two days as a tropical low hits the country’s northeast coast.

2014 KMOT Ag Expo finds lower prices, profit potential

MINOT, N.D. — In his three decades of farming, Mark Seastrand has seen good years, bad years and everything in between. So the Sheyenne, N.D., farmer isn’t alarmed by the recent plunge in crop prices and the more-difficult-to-achieve profits that go with them.
“I’d say we’re back to more normal conditions. These prices we’ve had the last six, seven years — we knew they couldn’t keep on,” Seastrand says.