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Michigan Farm Bureau not happy with US-House-passed Farm Bill

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s agribusiness leaders are hoping Congress will restore food assistance programs to the 2013 Farm Bill.

House Republicans approved a Farm Bill on Thursday, without any funding for food stamp programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP.

For decades, Congress has approved massive spending bills to help the nation’s farmers and provide help for the poor to buy food. But conservative House members passed a Farm Bill without the food stamp funding.

That disappoints the Michigan Farm Bureau. The bureau’s Ryan Findlay says Michigan farmers would prefer the whole package, which benefits rural, suburban and urban Michiganders.

“That’s the beauty of the Farm Bill -- it serves everyone,” says Findlay, “It’s beneficial for our friends in urban settings, in the suburban setting and throughout rural Michigan. We need that.”

Debbie Stabenow chairs the U.S. Senate Agriculture committee. The Michigan democrat calls the House Farm Bill “flawed” and “an insult to rural America."

But Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller says the House bill is “an historic pivot in the right direction,” “separating farm policies and nutrition programs.”

The Michigan Farm Bureau is also concerned the House Republican bill repeals laws passed in 1938 and 1949 that pertain to commodity price and production limits. 

The bill now moves to a conference committee.

The nation’s current farm law expires in September.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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