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Farm Bill passes through House committee; advocates react

Liam James Doyle

Local organizations are reacting to the House version of the Farm Bill, legislation that entails food assistance programs as well as programs for the agriculture industry. 

On Friday the House Committee on Agriculture approved the bill, known as the Farm, Food, And National Security Act of 2024. 

Lawmakers and interest groups have been sharing their opinions on the 900-page Republican-backed legislation since then. 

Emily Weikert Bryant, the executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, said her organization is concerned about cuts to the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, in the $1.5 trillion bill. 

“This farm bill would eliminate the ability to appropriately adjust and re-level those SNAP benefits to the tune of nearly $30 billion in SNAP assistance impacting all future SNAP recipients,” she said. 

House Ag Committee Democrats said it would be the largest cut to the SNAP program in nearly 30 years. 

During the mark-up process on Thursday, an amendment was added that would make illegal the sale of THC products derived from hemp such as Delta-8.

The Midwest Hemp Council said in a statement that while the amendment was “terrible,” there is a long legislative process that must play out before the law is actually changed.

Meanwhile, Brantley Seifers, the director of government affairs for the Indiana Farm Bureau, said he’s pleased with some of the more farmer-centric portions of the bill including a provision that would solve issues brought up by California Prop 12, which limited pork producers from selling in the state. 

Read more: California Prop 12 now in effect; 1,250 producers in compliance

“We're really happy to see that it kind of stayed through the entire process, because it is controversial,” he said. “But it's one of those things and opportunities that we have to really make sure the Prop 12 decision gets corrected. It's a very specific fix for agriculture.” 

Other groups including the American Soybean Association and the Corn Refiners Association expressed approval on the bill’s crop insurance, trade promotion and conservation programs. 

The bill is still months away from becoming law. It must pass the full House before being merged with a Senate version of the bill, which still hasn’t had a draft version completed. Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to either complete the bill or vote on another extension of the previous Farm Bill.