Farm Bill Will Reduce Spending, Cut $8 Billion In Food Stamps - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Farm Bill Will Reduce Spending, Cut $8 Billion In Food Stamps

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By: Claire Powell


After a two year debate, extended deadlines and much anticipation, a farm bill has emerged from the Senate-House conference committee.

The $500 billion bill would last for five years and reduce the budget by almost $24 million over the next ten years.

However, the almost one thousand page document doesn't come without compromises.

While the bill would prevent dairy prices from skyrocketing and save land conservation programs, it doesn't meet every agricultural need.

"It doesn't accomplish everything agriculture would ask but we welcome to approve the farm bill," said Craig Hill, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

For farmers, the bill would cut $23 billion in direct payments and farm support. They would be replaced with revamped crop insurance programs and require farmers to follow conservation compliance measures to receive subsidies.

"With the approval of this bill, farmers in Iowa shouldn't expect direct payments which add up to about $500 million for Iowa producers," said Hill.  

The bill is also expected to cut $8 billion out of the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as Food Stamps.

"What they don't realize is that there's not really a good compromise for the people who need food," said Sarai Rice, Executive Director of Des Moines Area Religious Council, DMARC.

That means $800 million less ever year, for the estimated 45 million people who use them.

"I know compromise is necessary, but the cut will hurt real people, will hurt real adults, hurt real families," said Rice.

DMARC's food pantries help feed over 35,000 people in the metro and surrounding areas. They've watched, first hand, as the need for food assistance has grown.

"We can certainly expand our ability as food private providers to provide additional assistance, but it will never be what the federal government is able to do," said Rice. "We would have to replace government assistance with the generosity of Americans."

The bill could go to a vote in the House as soon as Wednesday, but may not go before the Senate until next Tuesday. 

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