Money for Peanut Farmers Dropped From Spending Bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Peanut farmers lost a major funding battle this week as lawmakers dropped 74 million dollars in subsidies from a massive war spending bill.

Peanut producers had sought to piggyback on the war bill as their last chance at continuing government supports that expired last year and helped farmers cover storage and handling costs.

But many Republicans ridiculed the peanut money as an example of Democratic largesse. It diidn't make the cut as House and Senate negotiators agreed on the latest version of the legislation Tuesday.

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission, said the funds are important for the economy of the rural South. He said the vote was disappointing because it would be good so see investment at home as well as in war spending.

The bill totals some 124 billion dollars. More than 90 billion would pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remainder is earmarked for a variety of initiatives, including money for bird flu research, 650 million for the State Children's Health Insurance Program and 400 million for low-income heating assistance.

Georgia is the largest peanut producer with more than 40 percent of domestic production, followed by Texas and Alabama, according to the American Peanut Council.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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