Compromise reached on draft farm bill

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GRAYSON CO., TX - After two years of debate, congressional negotiators have agreed on a draft farm bill.

Farmers are relieved that progress is being made on subsidies for agriculture, but it's the food stamp portion of the bill that's caused the hold-up.

Farmer and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Candidate, J. Allen Carnes, is pleased progress is being made to help subsidize crop insurance, but says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, is what lawmakers have spent years debating.

"Having that uncertainty that was out there driven mainly by the food stamp portion of the bill has been a real headache to farmers and producers," said Carnes.

The new bill presented to the house proposes to cut spending by about 23 billion dollars over the next decade, including about 800 million dollars annually from food stamp funding. That's about 1%.

"I don't think any one person is going to feel a particular pinch tomorrow," said Carnes.

Lifelong farmer and Texas Farm Bureau State Director Ben Wible says he hopes the bill passes, "Depending how many amendments get put on to this thing is if it will pass, it's not guaranteed to pass."

House leaders say the bill could be voted on as early as tomorrow.

The Senate's version of the bill proposes half the cuts in food stamps -- about $400 million dollars annually.

The two bills would have to be reconciled before going to President Obama for signature.

The sooner a decision is reached in Washington, the sooner local farmers will know how to prepare for the spring and beyond.

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