Farmers Respond to Farm Bill

Farmers across the country are reacting to the House farm bill and many of those reactions are surprisingly negative.
For more than a year, farmers have been struggling to convince legislators to pass a new five-year farm bill. Despite broad support in the Senate, farmers have run into repeated brick walls in the House as fiscal conservatives have insisted on broad cuts to nutritional subsidies.
In an effort to bypass this congressional logjam, House Republicans recently passed a new farm bill that separated farm legislation from nutritional subsidies. While some rural legislators have grudgingly accepted this compromise as the only way to pass vital farm legislation through Congress, many farmers have reacted negatively to the Republican bill.
In particular, many farmers see the separate bills as a major threat to agricultural coalitions in Congress. “You would have all representatives interested in it,” said one member of the Missouri Farm Bureau of the current farm bill, “because not only does that affect rural communities with the farm programs, but also urban communities with the food stamp program.”
In addition to worrying about the breakup of a long-lasting congressional coalition, some farmers are worried about the removal of an important consumer base. “A lot of [people], they would not be able to afford any fresh produce, period, if it wasn’t for the SNAP program that the government has been subsidizing,” said one Missouri farmer. “If there’s places that they’re looking to cut money from the budget, they should be looking in other areas.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer