NEOSHO, MO.--- Local farmers learn more about the new federal farm bill and how it will affect people's lives. Congressman Billy Long spoke about the bill in hopes of gaining support amongst the agriculture community. Both the Senate and House of Representatives have passed their versions of the bill, leaving many people wondering how each could affect farming and the price of food.
"Agriculture is Missouri's number one industry," said Eric Norris, NACC Agriculture Committee.
An appreciation banquet held by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce brought together roughly 250 farmers to let them know how important their industry is to the economy.
"It's a huge impact in Newton and McDonald County, and it's our commitment to just appreciate those folks, the farmers. But it really goes beyond farmers, its everybody that contributes to ag," said Norris.
Right now, agriculture is a hot item among politicians because of the farm bill. It funds farm programs and food assistance programs. If it doesn't pass soon, the price of groceries could go up for everyone.
"We've got to get the farm bill done before milk goes to 7 or 8 dollars per gallon. We can't go back to the 1949 law," said Billy Long, Missouri Congressman.
To help provide funding to farm programs and keep prices down, the bill would call for funding cuts to the Food Stamp Program, but politicians are disagreeing about how much should be cut. The Senate wants $4 billion in cuts over 10 years, while the House wants $40 billion cut during that same time frame. Politicians like Billy Long say the cuts are necessary to weed out those who are taking advantage of the system.
"We think there's a lot of abuse in there that we can cut out and make sure that the families that truly need and really need the help, will get the help," said Congressman Long.
Congress is expected to go back into session early next week. Congressman Long says he hopes they will finalize the farm bill within the next few weeks.
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