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New Farm Bill Helps Farmers Plan for Future

FAIR GROVE, Mo. -- After years of congressional gridlock, President Obama has signed the farm bill into law. It cuts funding for the food stamp program and replaces billions in direct payments to farmers with expanded access to insurance in case of disaster. KOLR10 spoke to a cattle farmer today about the impacts of the new farm bill.
FAIR GROVE, Mo. --  After years of congressional gridlock, President Obama has signed the Farm Bill into law.

It cuts funding for the food stamp program and replaces billions in direct payments to farmers with expanded access to insurance in case of a disaster.

Farmers say this five year bill will help them plan for the future.

"Now we have a little certainty going forward," says Greene County Farm Bureau President Tom Huff.

Huff says the bill will help ensure an adequate and affordable food supply for people across the country.

"It's not just specifically for farmers," he says.  "It helps everyone."

The five year bill expands federal crop insurance.

"The row crop farmers, it gives them something they can make future plans with-- some certainty.  As far as livestock producers, now we have a livestock disaster program that is retroactive to include the drought of 2012."

Before this bill, there was no funding for any disaster relief programs.  Farmers say the new bill could even help prices at the supermarket.

"I'm sure everyone would like me to say they will go down which they won't," says Huff.  "But I firmly believe they will not go up as fast as they would without a farm bill."

While farmers across the country are already extremely efficient, this five year plan helps them prepare for the future even better.

"Do we want to keep?  do we need to sell?  and for row crop farmers, do I need beans this year?  corn next year?  It gives you something to plan on because you know what the government programs will be and can act accordingly."

The new bill cuts about 1% of the Food Stamp Program.  While some republicans hoped there would be more cuts to that program, Senator Roy Blunt says he believes this bill will help the future of Missouri farming.

"American farmers will no longer be thinking, 'will someone buy what I grow?'  they'll think, 'can I get my crop processed and to this market that will essentially double over the next 5 or 6 decades?'" says Blunt.  "I think it will be a good effect at the supermarket."

A large part of the $965 billion federal farm bill goes toward the Food Assistance Program, known as SNAP, which impacts around 47 million Americans.

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