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Idaho senators vote against passed Farm Bill

The Farm Bill the Senate passed Monday will affect more than farmers.

The bill is one of the biggest pieces of legislation lawmakers are dealing with. Every state is affected by this bill, and from there, a ripple effect occurs.

Some are saying that althoughy cuts are bound to happen, it really comes down to how much, and where those cuts come from.

The Senate passed the Farm Bill, which will cut farming and other programs by $23 billion.

The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation has been in support of a portion called “crop insurance.” This helps farmers in case of a major disaster or if the market prices drop.

The market prices are significant for farmers now. The bill says they will no longer be guaranteed pay directly through subsidies.

“They have an insurance policy that will help,” said Rick Keller, executive vice president and CEO of Idaho Farm Bureau. “Most of the Farm Bill, with this insurance program, allows a subsidy to help the farmers pay for that insurance premium.”

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted no on this bill.

“More than three-quarters of annual spending associated with the bill goes toward nonfarm programs,” said Crapo in a statement Monday. “In our current economic climate, it is imperative that we practice financial restraint and get our spending problem under control.”

Another cut the bill makes are to food stamps and similar programs by $4 billion. However, this affects more than those in need of the aid.

“Those who are no longer able to receive food stamps will have an increased need to access the Idaho Foodbank and our partner network,” said Karen Vauk, president and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank.

The Idaho Foodbank disrtibutes more than 1 million pounds of food each month.

“We’ve already increased in our capacity as the numbers have grown,” Vauk said. “We’ve more than doubled in the amount of food we’ve provided in the last four years, and we’re not seeing any reduction in the demand.”

As The Idaho Foodbank depends on donations, along with all similar programs in the other U.S. states, the increase in demand may not be met with an increase in the food it can give.

Both sides do seem to agree that they want this bill out of committee and to be finalized with a vote.

However, the reason it is set to expire in September is because the house failed to reach a consensus. Instead Congress voted to extend the 2008 version until a decision between both the House and the Senate could be reached.

The U.S. House is working on its version of the Farm Bill.

That version, supported by the Idaho senators, is proposing even more cuts for the nonfarm portions of the bill.

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