It looks like a deal has been reached on the Farm Bill. The House and Senate Ag Committees have finally reached an agreement on a final version of the bill that will be sent to both chambers of Congress for approval. It could be voted on in the House by Wednesday.
On the farm side:
The single largest savings come from ending the current system of direct cash payments to farmers, which cost more than $4 billion annually and are distributed at a fixed rate — whatever a farmer’s profits.
This nearly 18-year-old program will be replaced by two options linked to real market losses. But the total dollars within the commodity title are projected to be substantially less, and more than ever, crop insurance emerges as the backbone of the farm safety net.
On the food stamp side:
About $8.6 billion would be cut, largely by cracking down on what many see as an abusive scheme now by states that distribute token amounts of low-income fuel assistance to food stamp households to help them gain higher benefits. Even then, a portion of the savings is plowed back into nutrition programs, including $200 million dedicated to up to 10 pilot programs to test new Republican and Democratic ideas to help jobless beneficiaries receive training and find employment.
However, let’s not get too excited yet. It seems The American Meat Institute, as well as some poultry and pork groups, are going to try and stop passage of the bill. They’re unhappy with the country of origin labeling laws that remain in the bill, as well as some regulations promulgated by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) within the USDA.
For more, check out the article on Politico.