(Billings, Mont.) – The 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill has passed the U.S. Senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support. In a final vote on Wednesday evening the bill passed 86 for and only 8 against. The conference agreement provides total new budget authority of $74.5 billion. The bill now heads to the desk of President Clinton, who has expressed that he would sign the bill into law.

There are several excellent provisions to the bill including CDO (Continuing Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act) amendment added by Sen. Byrd of West Virginia. CDO amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to declare that any duties assessed from a countervailing duty order, and antidumping duty order, or a finding under the Antidumping Act of 1921 shall be distributed on an annual basis as continued dumping or subsidy offsets to the affected domestic producers for qualifying expenditures.

"R-CALF is excited to see this amendment as part of the final Ag Appropriations Bill," said Kathleen Kelley, R-CALF Vice-Chair from Meeker Colorado. "This will require the Commissioner of U.S. Customs Service to establish a special account in the Treasury to receive the duties and redistribute them to producers for qualified expenditures."

According to DTN news, " The staffers for both Democratic and Republican Senators who supported the Byrd amendment argued back in very strong terms that the dispute resolution process at the WTO is not working and that farmers and ranchers must have some relief. One senate staffer argued, that the U.S. will be in a stronger position in its negotiation with other countries if the Byrd Amendment (CDO) is on the books. Even the Senate Finance Staffers conceded, "There is widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo."

Also included in the Ag Appropriations is:
$1.61 billion for Crop Loss Assistance - including quality loss;
$490 million for the Livestock Assistance Program (LAP);
$110 million for the Emergency Watershed Program;
$80 million for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP); and
$20 million in direct payments for wool and mohair producers;
$10 million for the Livestock Indemnity Program.

R-CALF would like to thank all the co-sponsors of the legislation for their support and continued commitment to the U.S. ag industry.