Iowans eagerly await resolution of farm bill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans eagerly await resolution of farm bill

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The past year's weather has given Tiffin Farmer Doug Campbell no favors.

"It hasn't been easy," he said.  "Every time it was almost fit to plant, it rained."

Now he and other Iowa farmers are facing the challenge of waiting on Congress to agree on funding for farm programs.

Thursday the United States House passed a scaled back-version of the massive farm bill.

It's a version that leaves out the food stamps program, one that traditionally has been included.

The food stamps program is the largest part of the farm bill.

Johnson County Republicans are concerned about the rapid growth of the program in the past five years.  Many feel the food stamp program should be evaluated as its own piece of legislation.

"The food stamp program is a very different entity from the farm bill, and they should be dealt with and discussed in a separate manner," said Deborah Thornton, chair of the Johnson County Republican Party.

With all of the scrutiny, food banks are now fearing substantial cuts to food stamps while the need continues to grow.

This past year The Crisis Center of Johnson County has seen a 12 percent increase in the number of visits for food.

"If we are reducing the people who are eligible, if we're reducing the amount that they have available to spend at the grocery store, I have doubts even in our incredibly generous community that we can really pick up that slack," said Sarah Benson Witry, director of the Crisis Center.

Republicans and Democrats have until September 30 to find common ground.

University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle believes a deal will be reached with a little something for everybody.

"You have a number of legislators from agriculturally-oriented states that they're going to want to get something passed because otherwise their opponents are going to want to use it against them come election time," he said.

 

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