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Farmers Union Opposes Splitting Farm Bill

Pierre, S.D. (KELO AM) - South Dakota Farmers Union recently issued a statement opposing a plan to split the farm bill and repeal permanent law.

“It is not by happenstance that the farm programs and nutrition assistance were joined into one bill. The farm bill has been, and always should be a nonpartisan piece of legislation that provides a safety net for our country’s farmers and ranchers and food assistance to those most in need,” said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. “Splitting the farm bill is not only a step backward, but it would be a significant blow to the future of rural America.”

It was reported that House Republican leaders have made the determination to drop the nutrition title from the farm bill which provides food assistance to low-income people. They are also considering repealing permanent law, originally passed in 1949, which takes effect if Congress would allow the current farm bill to expire Sept. 30 of this year.

“Renewing federal farm policy every five years ensures that America will continue to have a diversified and strong agricultural industry to feed Americans and the world,” Sombke said. “By repealing permanent law, Congress has no incentive to come together and pass a bipartisan bill addressing our country’s safe, wholesome, affordable food supply. House leadership is not addressing the issues at hand. Rather, they are looking to move our country back decades to an era that had required Congress to pass ad hoc disaster bills to fix previous legislative errors. I encourage all others concerned about feeding our country to stand with us on this important legislation.”

Last week South Dakota Farmers Union joined a large coalition of organizations and companies from across the country to push for passage of a long-term farm bill after the U.S. House recently failed to pass the legislation. Farmers Union joined a total of 532 agriculture, conservation, rural development, finance, forestry, energy and crop insurance companies and organizations in sending a letter last week to Speaker of the House John Boehner calling for the passage of a five-year farm bill before the current bill expires. Read the letter here.

The U.S. Senate passed its version of a farm bill in 2012 and again in 2013. The House Agriculture Committee also passed farm bills in 2012 and 2013, but the 2012 farm bill was never brought to the House floor for a vote and was allowed to expire before an extension agreement was reached, prolonging the 2008 farm bill until Sept. 30, 2013. The U.S. House floor vote on June 20, 2013, failed with 195 voting yes and 234 voting no.