WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Farm Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation from congress. It impacts every single American because it sets policy for agriculture, nutrition and other areas. The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R- PA) spoke with us about the changes we could expect to see.
“I think there will be some improvements, refinements or changes that are reflective of what we’ve heard from American farm families and Pennsylvania farm families,” said Rep. Thompson.
Rep. Thompson said the Farm Bill, which sets policy for nutrition, agriculture, research and more, is still in the works. It’s likely to not be ready for final approval until December, almost three months past it’s deadline. Thompson said the delay will avoid any type of significant disruption but in the bill, we can expect to see some changes.
“I think it’s important that we do everything we can to strengthen that bottom line for dairy farmers,” said Thompson. “Crop insurance, universally everyone asks us to protect crop insurance we’re going to do that but I’d like to improve it as well. You know, I’d like to incorporate some of the disaster relief that we spend on ad hoc money because ad hoc disaster is not every efficient. It’s done emotionally tends to geet a lot of what I view as unnecessary spending attached to it because its an emotional it has to be done and if we can incorporate some of that into crop insurance, we can actually save significant dollars. Some of those dollars we can reinvest in place where we know that we need to an increase in support for trade with the market access program for a market development program.”
SNAP benefits will also change.
“Over 41 million vulnerable Americans rely on these modest benefits and most of them are temporary during tough times,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D- MI).
In the debt ceiling agreement, republicans pushed for tighter work requirements for able bodied recipients without children.
“It did away with some of the abuses that we see certain states exercising where they accrue these forever exemptions which means they never give someone is that struggling financially, they never give them a shot at opportunity of which we provide through congress in the Farm Bill,” said Rep. Thompson.
Thompson said his Committee along with the Senate are working together on this legislation.