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View From the Hill: 2013 Farm Bill Update

By Lance Waybright, National Grange Intern (View From The Hill Blog 4/23/13)

  APRIL 23, 2013 --

Tamara Hinton, spokesperson to the House Agriculture Committee, said on the 18th that Frank Lucas—Chairman of the ag-committee—is intending to reignite Farm Bill discussion as early as mid-May.

After an expected defeat last year due to bipartisan disagreements over dairy supply policy and the SNAP program (also known as food stamps), lawmakers are ready to try again.

House Speaker John Boehner participated in farm bill optimism; however, Boehner acknowledges the present difficulties that surround placing a bill into law. “There is a lot of fraud in the program [SNAP] and it needs to be dealt with. Some of our members want to deal with it, other don’t. I think that’s been the biggest impediment to getting the farm bill, but I’m optimistic that we will get a farm bill this year.”

The USDA is expecting a 12% budget cut while managing an increased demand on the provided services. At the farm bill forum, Speaker Boehner mentioned that there are over 18 million new participants enrolled in the food stamp program. Like Boehner, there are many other representatives who are concerned about the popularity of the food stamp program and whether it’s being utilized correctly.

Passing a new Farm Bill before the September 30th deadline will undoubtedly be an up-hill battle with plenty of partisan agendas fueling the fight. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that legislators on the Hill can work out something so America’s farmers and ranchers can finally have the safety and assurance that the Farm Bill provides.

-Lance Waybright
National Grange Intern

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