Nebraska’s member of the Senate Agriculture Committee expects Congress to pass a Farm Bill without major changes to current federal programs, including to the nutrition program.
Sen. Deb Fischer says agriculture needs the certainty and predictability a new five-year $867 billion Farm Bill would give to federal programs.
She doubts provisions in the House bill which would attach work requirements to food stamps will make it in the final version.
“No, in the Senate Farm Bill you’re not going to see any kind of major reforms taking place, any major changes taking place and especially not any major reforms happening to the nutrition programs,” Fischer tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Fischer says her top priority is to have strong crop insurance provisions, followed by work on commodity and conservation programs.
She says the Senate version proposes working through United States Department of Agriculture programs to deploy broadband throughout rural America. Fischer says that would allow farmers and ranchers to take advantage of the latest technology.
Trade has been a major issue with the Nebraska agriculture community. The Senate version would merge four current trade programs into one program which will seek to open foreign markets to U.S. agricultural products.
Much of the news generated from passage of the separate versions of the Farm Bill has focused on provisions to require food stamp recipients to either work or participate in job training contained in the House version. Fischer says the Senate version makes no proposed major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps.
And while there are other points of difference between the House and Senate versions, according to Fischer, the change to the nutrition side proposed by the House is the main sticking point.
“But I don’t see that being enveloped into a conference bill at this time,” according to Fischer.
The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]