Senator Expects Farm Bill Soon - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Senator Expects Farm Bill Soon

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Congress is getting close to passing a new five year farm bill. But getting here wasn't easy.

They haven't passed a five year farm bill since 2008, and the extension they did pass expired last year. But it is now looking like one will be passed soon.

"Anytime something that's been worked on for as long as the farm bill has been worked on comes out I think you have to declare it some victory. Now, we've been pouring through the details of it. And I think it's going to be a very good reflection of the diversity of our congress, which is a reflection of the diversity of our country," says Representative Kevin Cramer.

The bill would eliminate direct payments and replace it with an enhanced crop insurance program.

"That was the number one priority for our farmers and ranchers. So I think we've done a good job there. We retained the counter cyclical program for those who want that option. Although, I think that will typically be more for southern producers," says Senator John Hoeven.

 The version that came out of committee this week also offers relief to livestock producers who lost cattle in last years early winter storm in both North and South Dakota.

"The way this will work is the livestock indemnity program will cover 75 percent of the cost of the cattle that they lost, up to a max per individual rancher of $125,000," says Hoeven.

Representative Cramer says he expects that the bill will pass the House when it comes to the floor this week.

"Every democrat on the conference committee did in fact sign the conference report, so I guess I would be surprised. I do know, there are some rumblings from some of the members over the food stamp cuts, they thought they were too steep, and some are opposing it for that reason," says Cramer.

The compromised bill cuts about 8 billion from the food stamps program. Down from 40 billion the house had previously proposed.

Senator Hoeven says he expects the bill to come to the Senate for a vote either this week or next.

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