Sunday, April 11, 2021
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Farm bill deliberations shift to the Senate

With hopes of getting a farm bill by summer’s end, the Senate is moving forward with “bipartisan” legislation with S. 3042. Action on wide ranging amendments is scheduled to begin today (Wednesday). An amendment from Sen. John Thune to revamp the Conservation Reserve Program is up first.

The House passed a farm bill last week, H.R. 2, by a margin of two votes, and the bill, as written, may cause challenges when the legislation goes to a conference committee. The Senate’s approach to the farm bill on the issue of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which accounts for more than 70 percent of the dollars in the legislation, does not have the strenuous work requirements which are included in the House version (as passed).

The White House weighed in to express their concerns with the Senate version, indicating that it misses an opportunity to reform SNAP and/or close eligibility loopholes.

Checking with the State of South Dakota, as of May of this year there were 39,811 households participating in SNAP, which translates to a total of 86,607 persons, of which
41,221 are children. There are several rural counties in South Dakota with vulnerable populations and high SNAP utilization that could be very negatively impacted by some of the proposed eligibility requirements included in the House bill.

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