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New Farm Bill Expected to Benefit Local Food Banks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - After a two year delay, a new farm bill is just a couple of steps away from taking effect.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - After a two year delay, a new farm bill is just a couple of steps away from taking effect.

The U.S. House passed the bill Wednesday morning and it now heads to the Senate for a vote this week.

Among many effects the bill will have across the country, the new legislation will benefit food banks like Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield.

Bart Brown has been waiting for news of a new farm bill for two years.

"We're cautiously optimistic that it will pass the Senate," he said.

Brown is the CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest.

He's happy the bill includes a 200 million dollar increase in funds for food banks to purchase commodity goods.

"Which will provide more food for Ozarks Food Harvest and the clients that we serve," he said.

An increase in commodity funding means they will be able to buy more foods like beef stew and other items that go to families requiring baskets of emergency food supplies.

However the new farm bill also cuts eight billion dollars from the food stamp program.

"It does contain more cuts to the SNAP program than we would like to see," he said.

But the cuts only affect "heat and eat" states.

"Those are states where you're automatically qualified for the SNAP program if you qualify for heating assistance," he said, "From a regional perspective that is good news because Missouri is not one of those 15 states."

Arkansas won't be affected either.

Which is part of the reason why the new farm bill has support from both states.

Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor issued a statement saying, "This bill streamlines the SNAP program by cutting billions in waste, fraud, and abuse while supporting those who need it most."

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill also supports the bill, stating, "This bipartisan legislation will provide needed resources for Missouri's farmers and ranchers, and will boost jobs and businesses across my state."

This farm bill is expected to save 16.6 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Every representative in Missouri voted yes on the farm bill and all but one representative from Arkansas.

Republican Tom Cotton voted against it.

So far most senators from this region support this bill.

The Senate is expected to vote this week.
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