Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Farm Bill Progress, Finally

After months of political gridlock, new farm legislation may be in sight.

Farm land dotted with round hay bales.

Photo: Ian Britton (flickr)

The farm bill passed by the Senate last year stalled in the House.

Brace yourselves: There might actually be a full, five-year farm bill on the horizon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have both expressed a desire to see the bill through their respective chamber floors by the end of May so that legislators can shift their attention to other issues.

House: Still Focused On SNAP Cuts

The House Agriculture Committee approved a $940 billion farm bill on Wednesday, a day after the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its $955 billion version.

It would cut $40 billion from the agriculture budget over the next decade, with about half of those savings coming from a $2.5 billion annual cut to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is commonly known as food stamps.

Senate: More Of The Same

Meanwhile, the Senate’s bill — virtually unchanged from the one passed during the last legislative session – saves $23 billion over the next decade, mostly by consolidating agricultural programs.

Both bills eliminate direct payments to farmers, which will save about $5 billion annually.

Proposed Democratic amendments to restore SNAP funds failed to pass the House committee.

Read More:

  • Senate Panel Approves Farm Bill (New York Times)
  • Almost The Same Cost, Spent Differently: Comparing Farm Bills In The House, Senate Committees (Washington Post)
  • House Panel OKs Farm Bill With Food Stamp Cuts (NPR)
  • Congress Poised To Move On Farm Bill (National Journal)
Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

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