Brownback back in Kansas, talks about future of farms

Here are today’s headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Sen. Sam Brownback (R) !(Wichita Eagle) Brownback talks to area farmers about ag issues: In a stop billed more as an opportunity to listen than to talk, Sen. Sam Brownback visited with Sedgwick County farmers on Monday, the eve of final debate in the Senate on the 2007 Farm Bill. What Brownback heard at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center was that crop insurance that protects farmers from losses is preferable to disaster aid; that the rising cost of inputs, such as fertilizer, fuel, seed and herbicides, is a big concern; and that Sedgwick County farmers don’t want to see the immigration issue wind up coupled to the Farm Bill. Brownback told the group that the future is very much about energy and that the world’s demand for more and more energy is an opportunity for Kansas farmers to develop bio-based answers to fuel needs. “The gasoline market in this country is $1 trillion,” he said. “If we could capture just a quarter of that market, it would double the size of the U.S. agriculture industry. “Estimates are that we can meet about 10 percent of that with grain-based fuels. But cellulosic could supply a third of that market.”(AP) Brownback warns against adding immigration provisions to farm bill: Senator Sam Brownback says putting immigration provisions in the farm bill will doom the legislation. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California wants to add a guest-worker program for agricultural workers to the farm bill. Brownback says he will oppose that, even though he supports separate provisions for agricultural workers. Brownback says the current program allows 40,000 agricultural workers into the country each year — the maximum the current system can process. But the marketplace needs a half million migrant workers each year. Brownback says that encourages illegal immigration because producers need farm workers.Sen. Pat Roberts (R)!link to Yahoo Yet another bill has been introduced in Congress to extend a law that allows people to donate money from their individual retirement accounts to charity tax free-in this case, for two years. Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, proposed the extension, S. 2264, this week, saying “this provision has proved to be an important incentive to encourage small donors to give. The existing law – which allows people at age 70-1/2 to donate up to $100,000 a year from their IRA accounts without incurring income tax – expires at the end of this year. In introducing his bill, Senator Roberts said many charitable organizations in Kansas had told him that “donors are making good use of this tax relief provision.” “At the University of Kansas, for example, this provision helped generate 94 gifts totaling more than $2.8-million,” he added.