Farm Bill Advances to Senate

DHSCORVALLIS, Ore. — A bill that would help farmers is on the way to the Senate after passing the House Wednesday morning. But, it could also mean big cuts to those who receive food stamps.

The five-year farm bill would create provisions for organic farmers and specialty crop farmers. It would also offer more crop insurance options. But the proposal would also cut $800 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) annually.

One mom says she’s financially stable because of her food stamp benefits.

“I’m on a pretty limited income,” said Taylor Wood of Corvallis, a SNAP recipient. “I’m a single mom with three kids, so it’s kind of tough. And most of my money goes to bills.”

However, the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation says the cuts have to be made somewhere, and believes that there is abuse in the SNAP program.

“There are huge administrative costs to the SNAP program,” said Gail Greenman, the Director of National Affairs for the Bureau. “We don’t support cutting people who are absolutely in need of that food assistance. However, when we’re looking at dollars, we knew that this was going to be a trimmed-down farm bill than what we saw in 2002 and 2008. And when the money shrinks, those cuts have to happen somewhere.”

Greenman says she believes much of the SNAP cuts will happen on the administrative side, though other reports indicate that 850,000 food stamp recipients could be facing $90 monthly cuts from their benefits.

On the other hand, Greenman also says the bill would open up greater insurance options for farmers in the case of a natural disaster – such as a flood, a freeze, or a bug infestation.

“There’s a natural disaster every year,” she said. “We don’t know where in the country, we don’t know when, and we don’t know what the disaster’s going to be. But we want them to grow the food. We need the food. And this crop insurance gives the producers some assurance that they will be protected should there be a loss.”

KEZI 9 News tried reaching out to many farmers in the area, but because the bill is so new, nobody we spoke with felt comfortable discussing the legislation.

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