Missouri Farm Bill Discussion

Missouri Farm Bill Discussion

There have been serious debates on what exactly should be added or taken away from the old bill.
PINEVILLE, MO.--- Discussions have been happening recently about what the new farm bill should be. There have been serious debates on what exactly should be added or taken away from the old bill. 

"Congress can't come into agreement as of right now on a new farm bill," said John Hobbs, Agriculture/Rural Development Specialist.

John Hobbs is an agriculture development specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Office. A couple of weeks ago, he and other agricultural experts met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss the new farm bill. The farm bill was set in 2008 and expired last year. The secretary of agriculture wants to bring back refunding of livestock assistance programs, which haven't been in place since 2011. He also wants the bill to keep pro-risk management programs, which gives farmers crop insurance. Continue having conservation programs, which will help insure water quality and reduction of soil erosion. 

"The discussion among all the panel groups in the country that has met with Secretary Vilsack is that the direct payment program portion of the farm bill is on the chopping block," said Hobbs. 

The biggest part of the farm bill is the food assistance programs, which is delaying the bill from getting finalized. Those programs helps low income families get food stamps. Hobbs says the Senate and the House have very different views on this topic. 

"Both are going to reduce it, but the House wants a lot more reduction," said Hobbs. 

Some wonder if the bill isn't finalized by the end of the year, if the cost of groceries and food stamps will rise.

"There shouldn't be any food and price increases in 2013, there hasn't been any modest inflation increases that might happen," said Hobbs. 

The Conference Committee, which includes Senator Pat Roberts will begin discussing the next 5 year farm bill next week.

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