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UT Farmers: We'd Be Thankful with a New Farm Bill


Friday, November 29, 2013   

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's agricultural community would probably be a lot more thankful this holiday season if Congress would pass a new Farm Bill. Kent Bushman, president, Utah Farmers Union, said farmers throughout the state are feeling a great sense of uncertainty. No Farm Bill means crop insurance and other government programs are in jeopardy, he explained, causing economic doubts for farmers - and also, for banks that lend them money.

"When there's not a Farm Bill, it is kind of hard to go to the bank and borrow money to operate for a year," Bushman said, "if you don't know where we're going to stand on different programs that the government has offered in the past."

A major cause of congressional delay on this issue is the battle over cutting billions of dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Stamps. The Senate has approved $4 billion in SNAP cuts, while the House approved trimming $40 billion from the program. The two sides have been trying to work out a compromise number.

The Farm Bill supports so many programs and jobs, Bushman said, that not passing legislation soon could even threaten the U.S. food supply, in some ways.

"We want to provide the safest, cheapest food in the world here in the United States. Without some of these programs, we might not have that, if we have to start importing food," he warned.

Cattle, wheat and alfalfa make up the biggest sectors of Utah's farm economy, Bushman noted.

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