Failure to pass farm bill yields double edge sword

By WEEK Producer

June 21, 2013 Updated Jun 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- More uncertainty for farmers, but relief for food stamp recipients, as the U-S House of Representatives rejects a farm bill.

Hot temperatures like this haven't caused all the sweat for Glasford Farmer Gary Rosenbohm. Rosenbohm replanted corn on 150 acres because heavy rains caused the seeds to rot.

"A year like this year it rains all the time we started planting May 3rd, we just finished up three days ago, replanting 12% of our corn crop so there was a level of stress there," said Rosenbohm.

Rosenbohm said payments from crop insurance he took out three years ago helped out a lot. But with no farm bill in place he says not every farmer can participate.

The U.S. House of Representatives rejected the farm bill by a vote of 195 to 234.

The farm bill would have cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. That would have prevented 2 million eligible people from getting assistance, many of them with children.

The food stamp program has doubled in cost over the last five years to nearly $80 billion annually.

Community Action Agency manager Art Welch said in the tri-county area, the number of people going to some food pantries has nearly doubled since the start of the recession.

"When you get food stamps that doesn't just help feed the family, that helps the grocery store that provides the food," said Welch.

And as for farmers like Rosenbohm who grow and provide food products delays in getting a farm bill are not good for future planning.

"I guess farmers will go ahead and still plant. Everybody's got faith that somebody will come through at the last minute," said Rosenbohm.

Agriculture provisions in the current farm bill expire the end of September.

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