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Watne: Good and bad in the House farm bill version

ND Farmers Union president Mark Watne
ND Farmers Union president Mark Watne

The US House could soon be voting on its version of a new farm bill.

The bill is close to 1000 pages, and has a cost of around $1.5 trillion.

North Dakota Farmers Union president Mark Watne said it’s a start for further discussions with the US Senate.

"They (the House) put in some stuff that is really good, and some stuff that will be challenging for the Senate," Watne said.

The good things in the House bill?

"There is some enhancement in the reference prices, and payment levels," Watne said. "That's something we've been asking for, because they've been relatively flat."

Watne also said there are some enhancements on subsidy rates for crop insurance .

"That may enable farmers to buy up a little bit, so they can have better coverage or more coverage if they need it," Watne said.

But he said on the negative side, appears the bill would make cuts in the “SNAP” program, or food stamps– which could make the bill unpalatable with more urban members of Congress.

"We don't support cutting SNAP — we're about feeding people," Watne said.

Watne said it's a tough economic time, because of inflation, that causes the need for SNAP.

"That proposal just causes a political argument, that may delay the bill," Watne said. He also said he's looking forward to seeing the Senate version.

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