HomeTop StoriesText of a farm bill released in the U.S. House, sparking a...

Text of a farm bill released in the U.S. House, sparking a fight with the Senate

Doug Goyings, a fifth-generation farmer in northwest Ohio, received a grant from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program in 2023 to install a 288-panel solar array (seen at left) on his family grain farm, which he could meet 100 percent of the farm’s energy needs. and save money that he can reinvest in the operation. (USDA photo by Mark McCann)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Friday released draft legislation for the long-awaited $1.5 trillion farm bill, which is likely to face opposition in the Senate Democrats over disagreements over federal anti-hunger programs and requirements for climate change.

The committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that the bill, which will set agricultural, food, resource and conservation policies for the next five years, is a “product of extensive feedback from stakeholders and all members of the House of Representatives, and responds to the needs of farmlands through the integration of hundreds of bipartisan policies.”

The legislation funds programs for twelve titles over five years.

It would, among other things, boost rural agriculture, promote a new global market for farmers to sell their produce abroad, require new reporting requirements for foreign purchases of farmland, increase financing for specialty crops and extend the right to emergency assistance increase disasters.

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“The markup is one step in a larger process in the House of Representatives that should not be compromised by misleading arguments, false narratives or Senate edicts,” Thompson said.

The House Agriculture Committee plans to review the 942-page bill Thursday. This is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over ten years. A title-by-title summary has also been released.

In a statement, the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. David Scott of Georgia, rejected the bill that would “take food out of the mouths of America’s hungry children, preventing farmers from receiving the climate-friendly conservation funding they so desperately need.” need. and preventing the USDA from providing financial assistance to farmers in times of crisis.”

Scott warned that the current bill is unlikely to pass the House. Although Republicans have a slim majority, any piece of legislation will have to be bipartisan to pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

The current extension of the farm law expires on September 30.

On the Senate side, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who heads the Agriculture Committee, released Democrats’ own proposal in early May. It would, among other things, expand eligibility for low-income nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Stabenow made public a summary of the bill, but no legal text.

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Scott and Stabenow released a joint statement Tuesday after meeting with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee. They advocated for Republicans to craft a bipartisan farm bill.

“Republicans in the House of Representatives are undermining this goal by proposing policies that divide the broad, bipartisan coalition that has been the foundation of a successful farm bill,” they wrote.

“We need a farm bill that holds the coalition together and maintains the historic tradition of providing food assistance to our most vulnerable Americans, while honoring our commitment to our farmers who are battling the impacts of the climate crisis every day.” , they continued.

The House bill contains a number of provisions that Democrats oppose.

It would eliminate climate-friendly policy requirements for about $13 billion in conservation projects funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. Another would limit future updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, the formula that calculates SNAP benefits. “The economic impact of the SNAP cuts alone would be staggering,” Scott said.

According to the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a freeze on the Thrifty Food Plan would result in cuts of about $30 billion over the next decade. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 41 million people take advantage of SNAP benefits.

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However, the House Farm Bill would lift the ban on low-income Americans who have a felony drug abuse offense getting SNAP benefits.

Environmental groups also oppose the draft farm bill, citing concerns about the redistribution of IRA money and the inclusion of a bill on how states regulate animal practices.

Mitch Jones, Managing Director of Policy and Litigation at Food & Water Watch, a watchdog group focused on government and corporate responsibility for water, food and corporate outreach, said in a statement that the bill has important climate-friendly provisions would be deleted.

“Some of the leadership’s more dangerous proposals would set us back on animal welfare and climate-friendly agriculture,” Jones said. “It’s time for Congress to put the culture wars aside and get back to work on a Farm Bill that puts consumers, farmers and the environment above politics and Big Ag subsidies.”

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The post on the Farm Bill, published in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting up a battle with the Senate, first appeared on South Dakota Searchlight.

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