07/14/13 — Farm bill gets House approval

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Farm bill gets House approval

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on July 14, 2013 1:50 AM


In a largely party-line vote, a new Farm Bill passed the house with a vote of 216-208 on Thursday. The bill includes crop subsidy programs but excludes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program.

About a dozen Republicans voted against the bill, while no Democrats voted for it.

The Obama administration threatened a veto after the bill passed, making it unlikely for this version to become law.

This was mostly a tactical maneuver by the House contrived so House and Senate negotiators can work on a bill that includes farming and nutrition programs to win approval in both chambers.

As the bill was on the House floor, debate was limited to one hour and amendments to the bill were prohibited. Supplemental nutrition programs were stripped from the bill while much of what was expected from the bill was allowed to stay.

The bill would eliminate direct payment programs over time and in-state crop insurance programs for major crops, while specialty crop research programs would be left in place for fruit and vegetable growers.

"Farmers continue to need a safety net," said Rick Tharrington, county executive director of the Farm Service Agency in Wayne County. "We believe the farm bill should continue to provide a safety net for seasons like this one where we've had a rougher time."

Wayne County farmers have suffered from heavy rains, low weight wheat crops and disease-ridden tobacco this season. "Target spots" appeared on tobacco in Wayne County earlier this week, and wheat harvesting and soy bean planting is about three weeks behind schedule.

The 608-page version of the bill that passed the House would save $20 billion by cutting or consolidating various programs, and creates new subsidies for peanut, cotton and rice farmers. Livestock insurance programs would be restored and the bill eliminates a dairy program that controls the dairy supply in the U.S.

The money saved from the cutting and revising various programs would be directed into the $9 billion crop insurance program. If the new version cannot be agreed upon by lawmakers by September, another extension to the current bill will have to be implemented if a new five year bill cannot be passed.