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Farm Bill Defeated. Now What?

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June 24, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa - For years, farm advocates have been trying to reduce or eliminate the gaping loopholes in the farm program payment limitations that favor mega-farms and passive investors over family farms. The Senate-passed Farm Bill included those reforms, but the legislation is now stalled after the House failed to pass its version of the bill. Whatever version Congress eventually comes up with, Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, said he hopes it includes those long-fought-for reforms.

"We've been fighting for 20, 30 years against the odds to change that, and this bill finally changed that, at least for traditional farm programs, if not for crop insurance," he said. "So, I was disappointed to see it fail."

Hassebrook said what happens now with the Farm Bill depends on whether they start over from scratch or alter some of the most objectionable portions of the measure.

"I don't know what they are going to do," he admitted. "They have several options, but this just speaks to the deep division and distrust in Washington."

Democrats who had been ready to compromise and vote "yes" on the bill in the House changed their minds when Republicans last week added amendments that would allow states to require recipients to take drug tests and undergo work training.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA