Why Iowa Needs A Farm Bill Now

Iowa Farm Scene

Iowa leaders remain hopeful Congress will pass a new farm bill before end of the year.

Published on: November 11, 2013

The House version of the farm bill proposes cutting $40 billion from the food stamp program or SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program). The Senate only wants to cut $4 billion from SNAP funding. "That's a lot of dollars and is a big difference between the two bills," says Northey. "Actually, the proposal is for the cut to be spread over 10 years, so it's a reduction of $400 million vs. $4 billion per year on a program that amounts to about $80 billion. Spending on SNAP now runs $80 billion a year. Most of us could probably figure out a way to find middle ground on how to cut between $400 million and $4 billion from an $80 billon program."

Farm Bill impacts every American, every day with wide-range of programs that strengthen our nation

John Whitaker, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, and Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development agency state director in Iowa, sent out a press release last week, explaining what's at stake, specifically for Iowa:

"This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. The Farm Bill impacts every American, every day by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.

"The Farm Bill is crucial to maintaining a strong ag sector and an abundant food supply that benefits all Americans. Over the past two years, producers have faced a multitude of disasters—from drought, to flooding, to blizzards. These events demonstrate how important the safety net is to keeping producers going strong. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Farm Service Agency was able to provide $403 million in disaster assistance in Iowa using Farm Bill programs.

Reform the safety net, to provide strong crop insurance program, disaster assistance when needed

"A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would provide a strong crop insurance program, reauthorize the now-expired disaster assistance programs, and provide retroactive assistance for livestock producers. By reforming the safety net to eliminate the direct payment program—which pays producers whether or not they are in need of assistance—the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would also save billions of dollars in the next decade.