No Farm Bill for Christmas, but Resolution Expected in New Year - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

No Farm Bill for Christmas, but Resolution Expected in New Year

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Exasperating, maddening, and yes, frustrating. 12 months after Congress failed to pass a Farm Bill and instead extended the old one, there's still no resolution.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said, "We've said everything we can say about it and just need to get the Farm Bill passed."

Congressman Adrian Smith believes a final agreement is coming soon.  

Rep. Smith said, "It has been frustrating. It's my understanding that there are agreements in conference committee so we can move forward."

So why did it take two years to reach this point?

Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union said, "This process was frustrating because I think there was a little too much politics that got engaged in it and that has historically not been the case with Farm Bills."

Some like Johnson say it's the rise of the Tea Party, with conservative freshmen in the House who want to end the other side of the Farm Bill - food stamps, also known as SNAP.

For his part, Rep. Smith was among those pushing for cuts to food stamps. But he says farmers did their part by agreeing to billions in cuts, eliminating direct payments.

Smith said, "We need reforms. Both sides know, we need reforms, whether it's commodity title or nutrition title with SNAP."

Last year, Congress extended the old Farm Bill. This past summer, it looked again like they were going to get the new one passed, but didn't. So come January, farmers hope this will finally give them some certainty with a five year national policy.

"There are positive signs, but certainly the sooner we get the farm bill done, the better," Smith said.

Smith said the Congressional Budge Office is doing the math right now, so when they get back to work after the Christmas break they'll know all the costs.  

Farmers just hope for no more delays.

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