Farm Agencies React To U.S. House's Farm Bill - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Farm Agencies React To U.S. House's Farm Bill

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BOZEMAN -

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of the Farm Bill today.  Now the bill goes into a conference committee which will come up with a compromise between the Senate and House's versions.

The bill passed the House 216-208 with no Democrats voting for the measure. Montana Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Vice President John Youngberg said the House's version of the bill goes back to the basics.

"What it is strictly a farm bill," said Youngberg. "We've called it a farm bill in the past, but now it is strictly the farm programs, the crop insurance and the conservation programs."

The House's version doesn't include funding for nutritional programs or food stamps.

If those programs stay out of future generations of the Farm Bill, Youngberg said it might be harder for a largely urban congress to understand the importance of the bill.

"It may be harder to pass a farm bill without that urban vote," said Youngberg. "There are 125 people in the house that have absolutely no agriculture in their district. So for them to vote for a straight farm bill might be questionable."

Matt Flikkema with the Montana Grain Growers Association agrees not having  the nutritional programs or food stamps will make it hard for representatives from urban areas to vote for the bill.

"I think it is going to split up the urban and rural collation that has always supported those," said Flikkema. "So we're concerned but this gets something off dead center because before we had nothing."

Flikkema said he hopes those programs will be put back in the bill.

"We hope they both come back together, from conference, both the nutrition programs farm bill, all the things in the farm bill important to agriculture."

Flikkema said if both chambers don't act fast, it won't be good for anyone.

"We revert back to permanent law which we are very much opposed to that," said Flikkema.  "There are some ridiculous things in there but  it is there as a mechanism to make congress do something."

The House failed to pass the Senate's version of the Farm Bill last month. The last bill expired last year, but Congress extended it to September 30, 2013.

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