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New Farm Bill Will Have Big Impact In KELOLAND

February 4, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

New Farm Bill Will Have Big Impact In KELOLAND

On the desk of President Obama now sits a 1,000-page farm bill, a piece of legislation years in the making. For those in the world of farming, today's news brings a breath of fresh air not typically seen out of Washington.

"In farm country, we've had some, we've just not been sure what was coming. We've had to deal with extensions of the old farm bill that we were comfortable with and used to, but it's good to have her signed," farmer Kevin Scott said.

Once the bill is signed into law, the repercussions will be felt in many aspects of the country, including the nation-wide food stamp program.

"There's good and bad news in the farm bill. I think everybody is aware there's going to be a significant cut to the SNAP program, about 8-and-a-half billion dollars," Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Matt Gassen said.

That cut over the 10-year agreement makes up 1 percent of the program, but Gassen says that South Dakota won't be as affected as other states.

"The good news to that, really, is that as it was vetted out, the cuts are really going to impact 16 states that operate a heat and eat program, which South Dakota doesn't do that," Gassen said.

For area farmers, one of the big changes coming will be the end of payments guaranteed regardless of crop quality.

"I don't feel that they should support us to the point where we will not lose money, that's not putting any risk on the farmers, and I think getting rid of the direct payments is probably a positive move," Scott said.

There will also be a major boost in support for crop insurance to the tune of $7 billion.

"Crop insurance has always been our back bone, what we really relied on, and that has been strengthened in this program, we can buy up that crop insurance," Scott said.

After examining all the pros and cons, people are just glad that the farm bill talk is now in the rear view mirror.

"It'll be good to put that one to bed and start moving on to the new thing now," Scott said.

This bill did pass with significant bi-partisan support, 68 to 32, which will now fund hundreds of programs for agriculture, dairy production, conservation, nutrition and international food aid.

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