While the House Agriculture Committee may have only released their version of the farm bill on Thursday, several farm advocacy groups are already urging House leadership to pass the final bill as quickly as possible, with the National Cotton Council quickly emerging as one of the loudest voices in favor of the House bill.
While the Senate farm bill passed out of the Agriculture Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support (support that remained consistent during debate on the full Senate floor), the bill bitterly divided various regions of the country, pitting farmer against farmers. In particular, Southern farmers and politicians felt that the Senate bill favored Midwestern interests, focusing too much attention on protecting corn farmers while undermining safety nets for cotton, rice, and peanut farmers.
The House bill, many Southern farmers claim, does a better job protecting those regional interests. In particular, the National Cotton Council praised the support of vital trade deals designed to help cotton exports as well as the expansion of crop insurance programs better tailored to Southern farmers.
These programs did not come without a price, however. While both the Senate and House farm bills are roughly $1 trillion, the House version’s expanded insurance/subsidy programs are funded by severe cuts in various nutritional programs. While the full House is expected to pass this version of the farm bill, it is unclear how Senate Democrats will react to the reduction in Food Stamp funding.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer