Agriculture Roundtable - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Agriculture Roundtable

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Disappointment is the sentiment among many in North Dakotans over last week's failure to pass a national farm bill out of the House.

And the feeling extends all the way to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We're extremely disappointed, extremely disappointed. Our farmers and ranchers and our consumers certainly we need this farm bill as soon as we can possibly get it. We just can't afford another extension," says acting USDA Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse.

Included in the farm bill, since it's creation in 1933, is the supplemental nutrition assistance program, otherwise known as food stamps.

The House had proposed deep cuts to that program, but Senator Heidi Heitkamp says that's not the only reason the bill failed.

"There's folks over in the ideological right who don't like any farm program. I mean they may have wanted deeper cuts but even if you went deeper, I don't know that they would have voted for an enhanced crop insurance program," says SenatorHeitkamp.

She says there has been talk in Washington D.C. about possibly trying to push the Senate's version through the House, if they can't get their own passed.

"What the Senate has passed is a very good piece of legislation it is one that I think everybody can be pretty proud of and will get the savings that the Senator pointed out but yet at the same time afford the protections that our farmers and ranchers need," says Scuse.

Representative Kevin Cramer has said he would like to at least extend the existing farm bill, but he says even that will be a difficult task.

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