The 2014 Farm Bill has expired, however the bulk of the programs authorized by that bill continue. The Farm Bill is a five-year reauthorization of agriculture programs, conservation, nutrition, trade, credit, and other programs important to rural America. West-central Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Republican serving as a farm bill conference committee member, says the primary disagreement is the food stamp benefit work requirements favored by House Republicans.
“We should be investing in individuals who are work-capable, who are currently receiving food assistance, so that they can get the job skills needed to help fill part of the 6.9 million open jobs right now in this country,” Hartzler tells Brownfield Ag News.
Some lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, oppose the worker requirements.
Hartzler says there are also differences between House and Senate versions of the Conservation Reserve Program. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive plants and land from production to improve environmental health.
“The House expanded the number of acres to 29 million acres for CRP, but lowered the rental rates,” says Hartzler. “The Senate did not increase the number of acres by that amount.”
Hartzler a Republican serving on the committee, says Democrats are stalling.
“They may be viewing that they may have the opportunity to be a majority party in either the House or the Senate next year and re-write the Farm Bill according to their wishes,” Hartzler says.
She says conference committee members agree about the importance of crop insurance.
Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News contributed to this story.