Changing the Laws of the Land
The House version of the new bill increases subsidies for both corn and soybeans, just one of the changes coming for Missouri farmers when the 2002 version expires in September.
Steve Brengarth's farm pulls in many different kinds of products and he isn't sure he likes the idea of an increase in soybean and corn subsidies.
"I guess what they're trying to do is trying to make us grow more grain and corn. In the long run, that might have a tendency to lower the prices of what we receive."
The issue is part of an ongoing discussion in Washington as the bill climbs its way up to the President's desk.
"You're going to see intense interest to make sure that this bill just deals with farm bill issues," said Matt Boatright of the Department of Agriculture. "I think there was some discussion, as it related to the house-passed version, that there are other issues that impacted the margins of the bill that, quite frankly, needed to be removed or refined."
Even with changes, Brengarth wonders if they'll affect the way he farms.
"I've never taken advantage of the programs. I didn't see the help. Now, in 1993, when we did have the big flood, the government helped then and made quite a difference then."
The 2002 Farm Bill took feelings like that into consideration.
"When you look at the last Farm Bill, you basically see a much broader step that begins to lessen the government's impact," said Boatright.
"In the long run, we're like anybody else. We'd like to just operate out here. You know, make our profit, you know, without any help from the government," said Brengarth.
The bill focuses more than just farms, but also focuses on school nutrition programs, set rates on food stamps and some environmental regulations. The bill also puts more money towards renewable energy and specialty crop programs.
The House version got support from all the Missouri democrats and three Missouri republicans, including Kenny Hulsof. The next step is approval in the U.S. Senate. The Farm Bill is reworked every five years in the U.S. House and Senate.
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