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June 20, 2013   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
June 20, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Ala., June 20, 2013 — Today’s defeat of a farm bill by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives leaves farmers in limbo, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation.

“Farmers cannot effectively plan for the future because they don’t know how regulations and programs will impact their crops,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “The farm bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee was a balanced approach that cut $40 billion in spending over 10 years while protecting farmers. It is disappointing House Democrats voted to kill the bill because it attempted to rein in food stamp spending.”

The House rejected the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (H.R. 1947), or farm bill, by a 195-234 vote. The measure would have enhanced crop insurance programs, eliminated direct program payments to farmers, limited enrollment of land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and cut about $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps.

Alabama’s Republican House members voted for the bill, including Reps. Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus, Jo Bonner, Mo Brooks, Martha Roby and Mike Rogers. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, voted against the bill.

Most Democrats voted against the bill because it cut food stamps. Ironically, more than three-fourths of current farm bill spending goes to nutrition programs. The proposed bill would have provided the first significant reforms to the expanding food stamp program since the 1990s.

“We appreciate members of the state’s congressional delegation who stood with Alabama farmers and voted ‘yes,’” Parnell said. “While some Republican members of Congress would like to see greater reforms to food stamps, they understand Alabama farmers need the certainty of a farm bill. Unfortunately, the White House and Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives would rather kill the farm bill than accept common sense reforms to food stamps.”

The 2008 farm bill expired in 2012, but funding for some programs ran out months earlier. The Senate passed the farm bill June 10. Its version cuts spending by $24 billion over 10 years, including $4 billion from food stamps.

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