Sigh of Relief from Mid-Columbia Farmers with Passing of the Farm BillFinally, after years of setbacks, the House has passed an almost $100-billion a year compromise farm bill. The passing of the bill is not without challenges, as it met strong opposition from conservatives who were seeking a bigger cut on food stamps.

What Is the Five-Year Farm Bill?
The five-year bill, which preserves generous crop subsidies, is on its way to the Senate where it is sure to be approved. The White House has already given word that President Obama would sign it. With the backing of a strong Republican leadership team, the House approved the bill, 251-166.

Possible Repercussions
If the bill weren’t passed, it would have affected the agricultural industry, as bared by Pat Sullivan of Pasco, an orchardist and member of the Northwest Fruit Commission. That’s because many of the marketing promotions in which the commission is involved are paid for with federal dollars matched by the commission.

"We were very concerned that if it did not pass we might lose this money," Sullivan said. "It's very important to our industry to move our produce through the pipeline. Even a small decrease in foreign and domestic marketing promotions can affect our sales."

Benefits of the Farm Bill
The passing of this bill has made possible the investment of $200 million a year for the Market Access Program. According to the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Washington Apple Commission is using this program to reach consumers and businesses in India. It also benefits overseas sales of Washington wines.

In effect, the passing of this bill would benefit many commissions and organizations within the agricultural sector. It would also mean a stronger local economy, as funds would continuously flow in for the large farming community in the region.

Posted by Colleen D Lane on


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