The most controversial element of the farm bill debate has been over differences between the House and Senate approaches to food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Funding provided by the bill lasts over five years until 2023, reauthorizing $400 billion in USA agricultural subsidies and conservation programs.
The legislation reauthorizes crop insurance and conservation programs and legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said Tuesday, "Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill can not come soon enough for American family farmers and ranchers, who need the certainty of the farm bill safety net to continue to weather the worst farm economy decline in more than 30 years". But the bill's drafters used the baseline set by the Congressional Budget Office under existing spending levels of $867 billion over the next 10 years, meaning it will not increase the federal deficit from prior projections.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Monday the bill "maintains a strong safety net for the farm economy, invests in critical agricultural research and will promote agriculture exports through robust trade programs", but he voiced disappointment over the failed changes to the work requirement.
Here in North Central Florida, Mayor of Newberry, Jordan Marlowe says the bill shows Washington still cares about small towns and farms.
After the Senate passed the bill Tuesday night, the lower chamber followed suit on Wednesday with overwhelming support.
Quarles believes Kentucky's unique history with the growth of hemp will allow the state to hit the ground with both feet running, if the farm bill becomes law. "We think the farm bill is in very good shape".More news: 'Total Victory': Judge Orders Stormy Daniels To Pay Trump's $293,000 Legal Tab
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House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a bill to overhaul the process for handling sexual misconduct allegations in Congress.
Congress has already made a number of changes to policy this year to address concerns about sexual assault and workplace harassment, including requiring mandatory anti-harassment training for members, staff, interns and congressional fellows in each session of Congress. "Pass the Farm Bill with SNAP work requirements!"
While the legislation wouldn't change the age limit or work requirements for food aid recipients able to work and without dependents, it would require governors to sign off on state requests for work requirement waivers in areas with high unemployment.
The bill also increases support to organic farming by establishing permanent funding for research to the tune of $50 million a year by 2023, up from $20 million.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, one of the leaders on the House bill earlier this year, is working to introduce bipartisan legislation in the next Congress that will include the provisions that didn't make it into the Senate bill, according to an aide.
"This has been a major money-generator for rural farmers", he said.
"While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities", he said.