The farm bill is the food and agricultural budget and policy for the United States. The bill impacts farming livelihood, and also determines how food is grown and which foods are grown. The focus points for the bill include commodities, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, energy, and forestry.
In April, the House proposed a version of the 2018 Farm Bill. This version of the bill was shot down with a vote of 198-213. The House’s proposed farm bill was voted out largely due to the proposed expansion of the work requirements for SNAP/EBT (formerly known as food stamps) recipients.
The Senate then released their version of the bill. This bipartisan draft removed the harmful work requirements for SNAP recipients and SNAP funding cuts. The Senate bill also changed a costly rule that requires each farmers market to have individual SNAP/EBT equipment for every one of their operation sites.
The Senate version of the bill passed with little opposition, and after a second vote, the House version of the farm bill also passed. With two different versions of the bill on the table, the House and Senate needed to compromise to pass one comprehensive farm bill.
The previous farm bill expired September 30, 2018. No compromises were reached before the expiration date. For a little over two months, the United States has been operating on an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill.
In early December, the Senate and House compromised and Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. While this bill does make revisions to SNAP, it does not include the work requirement expansion. The bill also provides permanent funding for farmers markets and local food programs. The bill is expected to be signed into law shortly by the President.
The new bill is a win for nutrition, SNAP recipients and farmers markets! Stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook and blog for updates.