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Ag panel approves Donnelly amendments

Two amendments advocated by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., were part of the five-year farm bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

A proposal introduced by Donnelly and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., would extend federal disaster insurance to crops that produce feedstock for energy purposes. The legislation also would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research insurance tools for sorghum used in energy production.

Donnelly co-sponsored an amendment with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., that would give the USDA authority over funding levels for conservation technical assistance. The Office of Management and Budget has that authority now.

The farm bill passed 15-5 to advance to the full Senate for consideration. Donnelly, a member of the Agriculture Committee, voted in favor of the $955 billion bill.

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