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When Farm Bills Collide

It’s anyone’s guess whether the House and Senate will be able to produce a Farm Bill before the end of this legislative session.  As reported earlier, the House has passed a very stripped down version (HR 2462) that no longer includes SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funding, removes mandatory funding for energy programs, decreases conservation program funding, and uncouples a requirement for farmers to meet conservation requirements as a condition of receiving Federal crop insurance subsidies.  At $196 billion (over the next ten years) the House measure is extremely lean when compared to the Senate’s more comprehensive and traditional $955 billion (S 954).  Approximately 80 percent of the Senate bill’s funding is for SNAP.  However, the House has sent its measure to the Senate as a first step toward holding House-Senate conference discussions.  The Senate has reciprocated, sending its version to the House for consideration as well.  The next step will be for each chamber to appoint conferees and determine when the conference discussions will take place.  Conferees will be charged with finding an acceptable middle ground between the two pieces of legislation.  Whether that is possible remains to be seen.  ASDWA will continue to monitor Farm Bill progress – stay tuned…