House Democrats Divided Over Farm Bill

WASHINGTON - Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry says a fellow Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, Ron Kind, could destroy a carefully worked out compromise farm bill, and badly damage the Democratic Party.

Kind is pushing an amendement to the farm bill that would bar anyone earning an average of $250,000 a year or more from collecting farm-subsidy payments.  That's close to President Bush's proposal for an income cap of $200,000.

Berry, whose First District in northeast Arkansas is a big producer of soybeans, rice and cotton, is a big booster of the farm bill compromise worked out with the help of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  He's helping to lead the fight against Kind's proposal.

The farm bill that goes to the House floor tomorrow would keep large subsidies intact for major commodities like rice, cotton and corn.  It would cut aid only for the wealthiest farmers, those with annual incomes averaging a million dollars or more.

Berry said that, if Kind and his allies succeed in attaching their amendment to the bill, it would not only destroy the farm bill but damage the Democratic Party in farm states.  He said that could end up costing the party is majority control of Congress.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)