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Farm Bill and Food Stamps Still a Work in Progress

TRAER, IA (CBS2/FOX28) In passing the Farm Bill last month, Congress removed funding for food assistance programs. While the decision affects rural farms and those who need food stamps, the effects reach much further.

Its about every single American, said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Its a jobs bill, its a trade bill, its a research bill, its an environmental bill.

But Congress delay in passing the bill leaves all those Americans who might benefit, including Iowa farmers, in Limbo.

We dont know what our costs will be for crop insurance in the future, said Iowa State Senator Tim Kapucian. We dont know what type of help there might be for installing new conservation practices.

Some farmers say the extension of the 2008 provisions helps with that uncertainty, but a new bill would allow them to plan long-term. Breaking precedent, the House of Representatives removed funding for food stamps from the Farm Bill. Those are two things Iowa Officials on both sides of the aisle agree need to be together for either to survive.

95% of the people in the House of Representatives dont know anything about agriculture, theyre from the cities, said Iowas Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Some of the districts dont even have dirt in them.

If they know their constituents are going to receive some assistance when theyre struggling, that makes it more likely that theyre going to vote in favor of those farm programs, said Vilsack, a Democrat.

What most may not realize is that using food stamps in super markets benefits the farmers in the fields.

15 cents of every food dollar spent at a grocery store goes ultimately to a farmer through the supply chain, said Vilsack.

And if income goes down for farmers, cost for all consumers goes up.

This is the first time lawmakers have removed funding for food stamps from the Farm Bill. Senator Grassley says that since the senates version of the Farm Bill has food stamps in it, when the two chambers come together, the legislation they agree on will likely include some food assistance.
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