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South Dakota Farm Bureau and South Dakota Farmers Union Call on Congress to Take Action


Huron S.D. (KELO AM) - With the expiration of the nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill this past Monday, South Dakota Farm Bureau and South Dakota Farmers Union are together calling on Congress to get down to business and take the steps needed to pass a new farm bill before the end of the year.

“These extensions and expirations are unfortunately becoming business-as-usual at the Capitol.  Congress can’t keep kicking the can down the road on farm policy while America’s farmers and ranchers are trying to manage their family businesses with no idea what the parameters will be for the coming year,” said Scott VanderWal, a family farmer from Volga, S.D. and President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau.  “The production of our nation’s food supply is too important to leave to chance, so we’re asking Congress to move the process along and get a solid, five-year farm bill enacted before year’s end.”

“South Dakotans are depending on Congress to finish the job and pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill,” said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. “This is the second time in over a year that Congress has not done its job by letting the farm bill expire. Our country needs food and job security. Passing a farm bill will not only provide this security, but it will allow our state to have certainty in agriculture, provide for greater energy independence, enhance conservation and rural development, and further reduce our nation’s deficit.”

South Dakota Farm Bureau and South Dakota Farmers Union are calling on Congress to pass a bi-partisan and deficit-reducing farm bill before the end of the year that keeps the nutrition title with the farm bill, maintains permanent law, provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers against uncontrollable market factors and weather disasters, and keeps a strong conservation title.

The U.S. Senate passed its farm bill in June, but work on the legislation stopped in mid-July after the U.S. House passed a farm bill without a nutrition title.  On Sept. 28, two days before the expiration of the farm bill extension, the House reconnected its recently-passed nutrition title with the farm provisions, finally putting the farm bill back on track for a House-Senate conference.

Most recently the Senate re-appointed its conferees on Oct. 1, but the House has yet to do so. Once the House names its conferees they must iron out the differences between the two bills, particularly on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding; the Senate bill calls for a $4.1 billion reduction in SNAP funding over the next decade, compared to the House's $40 billion in cuts.