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Farm Bill Facts

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted to approve the farm bill proposal 21 – 1

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted to approve the farm bill proposal 21 – 1. The lone “no” vote was cast by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, who wanted to establish payment limits for farm subsidies. As it stands, the proposal doesn’t place a new cap on subsidies, although it does reduce the adjusted gross income limit to qualify from $900,000 to $700,000.

Unlike the House’s farm bill, this proposal doesn’t make major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. However, its sponsors have marketed the bill as an attempt to “strengthen the integrity” of SNAP, language which may leave the door open for stricter requirements during the reconciliation stage.

Here are the other notable provisions in the Senate bill:

Mental health support services

The bill would re-authorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), a mental health resources program that was established by the 2008 farm bill but never funded. It allocates $10 million in funding through 2023 and requires the USDA submit a report to Congress on the state of behavior and mental health in farming communities.

Organics

The bill mandates funding for two organics programs: the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (which reimburses producers who apply for organic certification) and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (which funds projects for organics research and development). The latter program would receive $40 million in 2019 and 2020, $45 million in 2021, and $50 million in 2022 and each following year.

 

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