Congress Comes to Agreement on Farm Bill
Written by Jared Pelletier
Last updated on January 28, 2014 @ 7:15PM
Created on January 28, 2014 @ 6:13PM
Federal lawmakers have been fighting over the farm bill for more than two years, but on Monday night members of Congress made an agreement.
The farm bill is typically reviewed every five years, but talks have stalled on this particular deal for quite some time.
Congressional leaders reached across the aisle and struck a bipartisan deal. It will end the current direct payment crop subsidy system and transition it into an insurance program. In other words, farmers would have to lose money before getting a payout.
But the deal isn't good news for everyone. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is better know as SNAP, will lose funding.
The proposal will cut food stamps by $800 million per year for the next ten years. That's about a 1% cut overall.
There are Democrats and Republicans who still believe the bill isn't perfect, but many of them also claim the fighting has gone on long enough.
A local farmers market official believes the bill won't necessarily affect many farmers in the Mountain State directly, but it paints a clearer picture for the industry over the next few years.
Dale Hawkins is the Bridgeport Farmers Market's President. He said, "We know where we are so we can move forward with how we plan. If you are a commodity farmer then you know what kind of subsidies you're going to be receiving."
People receiving SNAP benefits will feel the effects of the budget cut according to political experts. Since the cut isn't 1% across the board some people might lose their benefits entirely.
Dr. Neil Berch is a political science professor at WVU. He said, "Some segments of people will lose their benefits and those are people who are on the cusp of survival. I think one thing that may happen is this may come back as part of the minimum wage debate."
The House could vote on the bill as early as Wednesday.
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