‘Imperfect’ Farm Bill still necessary

The Senate passed the Farm Bill on Tuesday, sending it on to President Barack Obama, who indicated he would sign it. It will finally give the farming industry a firm idea of what the government policies will be over the next five years, so they can make their business decisions without guessing.

A lot of people commenting on the bill Tuesday said, “It’s not perfect, but…”

Sen. Al Franken, for example said, “This bill isn’t perfect, but it was a bipartisan effort that will reform and modernize our agriculture programs, strengthen the farm safety net, and help create jobs and economic vitality in communities across our state…”

The farm bill may not be perfect, in other words, but it is better than nothing. No farm bill would have sent U.S. farm policy back to the 1940s. It would have sent milk prices through the roof and made marketing for most commodities a guessing game.

The farm bill is ungainly, covering hundreds of different programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as the Food Stamp program. It is expensive, costing about $96 billion a year, with 80 percent of that going to SNAP.

SNAP issues still need to be addressed, but after two years of being held up, it is time for the Farm Bill to become law.

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