Why are you talking about the Farm Bill?
The House Committee on Agriculture recently approved a proposal for H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, more commonly known as the “farm bill.” Both chambers – the Senate and House – have indicated that it will be the next big thing on the legislative calendar.
Tell me about what’s in the bill.
- It implements stricter work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients (aka “food stamps”).
- It provides funding for wider access to internet in rural areas.
- It streamlines and reduces the regulatory burden on our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
- It maintains several provisions to help new farmers and ranchers establish themselves in agriculture.
- It protects America’s specialty and organic crops by restoring funding for Technical Assistance for Special Crops (TASC), expanding special crop insurance policies, and making key improvements to research and grant programs, among other things. (Specialty crops include a lot – check out the USDA’s list of what is included.)
So what’s the hold up?
Some critics are saying that the stronger conditions on work requirements for food stamps are harsh and will kick thousands out of the program, but the new work rule specifically excludes seniors, individuals with disabilities, individuals caring for young children, and pregnant women.
What comes next?
The House Committee on Agriculture has introduced the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” in the House of Representatives, where it is currently being discussed. The Senate has not yet acted on the bill, but we’ll keep you updated as things progress!
This piece originally appeared in WFW’s Newsletter: Weekly Wins, Volume 11.
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