Next Steps For Lawmakers to Decide Farm Bill

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- It's back to the drawing board for the 2013 farm bill.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Matt Lohr said the bill is the economic safety belt for farmers.

Lohr said that's important for the Shenandoah Valley because farming is a staple in the area.

If it passes this year, it would help farmers for five years.

It's about a 940 billion dollar piece of legislation and 740 billion of that is causing some controversy.

Lawmakers can't agree on the money that's designated for the food stamp program.

In June, the House house shot the farm bill down.

The policy sets commodity prices and includes a crop insurance program to help farmers when their crops get damaged.

In 2012, when Congress failed to pass the bill they put in a nine month extension, which will expire in September.

Lohr said they could separate the food stamp program from the farm bill, but it's not popular among lawkmakers.

"A lot of urban districts where farming is not really important, those legislators don't have quite the same concern about farm policy and so when it's tied together, it certainly makes it a priority for all members of Congress," said Lohr.

After summer recess, the House could try another vote to see if members have changed their minds.

They also have the option to pass another extension for nine months.

However, the Senate is not in favor of that.

The current policy that's in place runs out in September.

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