Farmers say House's Farm Bill is a step in the right direction
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Farm Bill Thursday which separates the agriculture legislation from food stamp policies. It's already meeting a lot of opposition from the Senate.
Local farmers, however, say the bill is a good start, and itâ??s not all that different from the Senateâ??s version.
â??They're what we want. They contain, especially for the fruit growers, an opportunity for crop insurance,â?? says longtime farmer Frank Lipinski.
He says it would have been nice to have that policy in effect during last season's harsh harvest, â??So you aren't left with zero like the fruit growers were last year.â??
Lipinski has seen legislation come and go every five years. Both the House and the Senate's versions recently passed afford more farmers security. The problem lies in the House's exclusion of food stamps, something added onto the farm bill back in the day.
â??It's a matter of you scratch my back, I scratch yours. And that's been the policy forever, since early 70s,â?? says Lipinski.
A large portion of the Farm Bill is dedicated to the food stamp program which has increased dramatically in the past four years.
In a statement, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says the House's version is "extremely flawed."
"The bill passed by the House today is not a real Farm Bill and is an insult to rural America, which is why it's strongly opposed by more than 500 farm, food and conservation groups.
Farmers we spoke with say they'd like to see a clean bill dedicated just to farming.
â??They'll be throwing other things back into it to get the votes and that isn't the way it should be,â?? says Wayne Bancroft of Rolling Meadows Farm.
Lipinski maintains the bill is a step in the right direction. â??I think it's a good first step. It at least sends the message that â??we're kinda serious about this. We got a problem here, letâ??s fix it.â??"
Lipinski thinks Congress will reach a deal. Itâ??ll most likely include a reduced percentage allotted for food stamps.
Congress has until September 30 to reach a compromise, otherwise legislation from 1949 will go back into effect.