WASHINGTON - More-attractive insurance subsidies will be in place to cover crops planted this fall, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman assured lawmakers on Wednesday.

Mr. Glickman testified at a House Agriculture Committee hearing that rules would be finished soon to implement the Agriculture Risk Protection Act, which largely takes effect Sunday. President Clinton signed the law this summer to provide farmers with more affordable crop insurance and other risk-management tools.

Bankers lobbied for crop insurance expansion to better protect themselves against defaults by agricultural borrowers whose crops fail.

"Lenders will be working with farmers to fully understand the new crop insurance parameters," Mark Scanlan, director of agriculture finance at the Independent Community Bankers of America, said in an interview.

In other agricultural lending matters, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has scheduled hearings for Tuesday on a Farm Credit Administration proposal to authorize national charters for Farm Credit System institutions. Rep. Leach has questioned the authority of the agency to grant national charters and expand its lending authority.

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