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Nutrition title fight means difficulty in moving farm bill needle

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  • Agriculture groups push hard for new farm bill before Congress returns from August recess. Food stamp spending is proving to be a major issue.

“The farm bill is at the very top of the list of things Congress needs to get done,” Stallman said at South Dakota farm meeting. “We have to keep the heat on Congress to get a five-year farm bill done this year.”

Despite the obstacles to a new farm bill, Stallman said, “There is plenty of time in this Congress to pass a five-year farm bill. We have to stay focused on getting it done.”

Stallman played up the need for farmer certainty going into 2014 and downplayed calls for another extension of the 2008 farm bill as premature and “a cop-out.”

 Another group, American Farmland Trust, is attempting to send Congress 10,000 letters in support of a new farm bill. “The farm bill includes programs that promote farmers markets, support local foods and help beginning farmers. But bitter politics and budget cutting posturing overtook the farm bill process, and now many of these programs are currently without authorization or funding, leaving stranded the farmers and communities that rely on them.”

During a Tuesday (August 20) radio interview, Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, named a farm bill conferee in early August, said he was unsure how a new farm bill would get done. “I don’t know exactly how we’re going to do it. This is not a Republican or Democratic thing. With the farm bill, it’s all about regional agriculture, making sure that you have a program -- not one-size-fits-all, but puts the safety net in for all of our farmers.”

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