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January 30, 2014

Farm Bill's progress pleases local officials


“There are some good things in here,” said Vickers, who has a beef and forestry products farm, said. “Just getting this thing done is a good thing. … Hopefully the Senate will pass it.”

Vickers said that the document is extensive and the impacts of some cuts and costs have yet to realized. For example, localities will have to help recipients who were helped through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp program, he said.

The new Farm Bill maintains assistance for families while stopping fraud and misuse in the SNAP program, the joint committee said. The bill would close a loophole used by some states to artificially inflate benefits, the release said, plus invests in pilot programs to help people secure employment.

Gillibrand opposes the bill, citing concerns about feeding the hungry and other funding issues.

“Only in Washington could a final bill that doubles the already egregious cuts to hungry families while somehow not creating any additional savings than originally proposed be called progress.” Gillibrand said in an emailed statement. “This bill will result in less food on the table for children, seniors and veterans who deserve better from this Congress while corporations continue to receive guaranteed federal handouts. I cannot vote for it on the Senate floor.”

Schumer this week said he “strongly disagrees” with the cuts being made to the SNAP program and will work to undo them. However, he urged colleagues to pass the new Farm Bill.

“Ensuring the Farm Bill’s passage is of the utmost importance to New York, because it maintains or grows scores of programs for upstate New York dairy, fruit and vegetable farmers,” Schumer said in a media release. Two of his priorities for the bill were included —the Wool Trust Fund and the Maple Tap Act, now known as the Acer Access and Development Program.

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