U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will spend much of the August congressional recess talking about the farm bill, which is hung up in a legislative impasse.
Hopes are dim for compromise on the legislation after the Senate approved a five-year plan regulating farm programs and food stamps, but the House signed off on a bill dealing only with farm programs. McCaskill says Republican efforts to make sharp cuts to the food stamp program are holding up the farm bill, which she says is unfair to farmers in Missouri.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill, a version that excludes funding for nutrition assistance programs nationwide. But most analysts believe the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t approve a version that does not include funding for programs like food stamps.
On this week's Business Beat: 47 million Americans are enrolled in the SNAP program, or food stamps, including nearly 16 percent of Missourians. SNAP is the biggest spending item in the farm bill. And the program has a big bulls eye on it as Congress debates new legislation. As Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, the economic considerations go beyond who receives SNAP benefits to how and where the money is spent.
April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.
“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.
Dozens of Ste. Genevieve County residents met last night (Tuesday) with the company applying to open up a sand mine in their neighborhood. Locals fired questions at Mark Rust, owner of Summit Proppants, for four hours about health concerns, traffic safety and property values.
Missouri voters will get the chance to consider a constitutional amendment next fall that would affirm the rights of farmers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices. The state House and Senate passed the measure during the end of the legislative session last week. Harvest Public Media reports.
In the small town of Staunton, Ill., the new $9 million water plant is a welcome addition. After all, when the 80-year-old facility it replaces seized up last year, the community’s 5,000 residents were without water for five days.
But for Staunton’s part-time mayor Craig Neuhaus, the plant represents more than water security. He expects the water system upgrade to help bring business to this town about 40 miles north of St. Louis.
The future of crop insurance and conservation programs for the Midwest is up for debate in Washington, as the farm bill reaches the floor of the Senate. The agriculture committees of both the Senate and the House passed new five-year bills last week and legislation is expected to make its way to the House floor soon.
The overarching theme this year is spending cuts—as with most federal programs. But how the two bodies trim down the farm bill differs. Nutrition programs will lose the most, with the House cutting more than the Senate.
With a new farm bill, farmers may have access to fewer dollars for conservation. For 27 years, the popular Conservation Reserve Program has transformed small parcels of land, contributing to cleaner water, more habitat for migrating birds and less soil erosion. But as Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports from Iowa, the program has been enrolling fewer acres in recent years and it’s not just budget cuts that could make it smaller still.
Farmers and ranchers across the country expected to start the New Year with a new farm bill, the all-important legislation setting agricultural policy for the next five years.
As House and Senate negotiators worked feverishly at the turn of the year to come to a fiscal cliff deal, word leaked that the Agriculture Committees had finally come to an agreement on a long-awaited new farm bill. But the final fiscal cliff deal ditched new legislation and merely extended parts of the bill that expired in October. Jeremy Bernfeld reports the extension left many farmers frustrated.
Beyond subsidies and food stamps, what’s in the farm bill?
With the election over, lawmakers are now returning to Washington for the final weeks of the 112th Congress. Their schedule is packed, but House majority leader Eric Cantorhas said addressing the expired Farm Bill is on the agenda.
The farm bill expired at the end of September and lawmakers didn’t pass a new one, thanks largely to election-year politics. Despite the partisan bickering in Washington, though, many in farm country are working together to keep their concerns on the front burner.