Rep. Kind "disappointed," farmers relieved after farm bill passes House

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Farmers may soon be able to plan for the future with a new farm bill moving forward.

A new farm bill that was supposed to be enacted in 2012, was passed by congress Wednesday. The bill is meant to protect farmers during hard times.

Chippewa Falls dairy farmer Jeff Peck said it's a relief even though some are unhappy with what was included or left out.

“A bill this large, not just production agriculture, but also food programs, conservation, renewable energy; there's always winners and losers. And that's why the discussion was so intense,” Peck said.

Congressman Ron Kind (D) of La Crosse voted against the bill that included more than $8 billion in cuts from the SNAP program, also known as food stamps, and a 14 percent return guarantee for crop insurance companies.

“I also don't see the necessity of cutting another $8.6 billion out of nutrition title, which will impact low income kids, individuals with disabilities and older Americans the most,” Kind said.

Eau Claire County U.W. Extension agriculture agent Mark Hagedorn said the full effect is still unknown from the nearly 1,000 page bill.

“Lot of folks involved with the SNAP program have just been living on a bubble. So at least we have direction now and I think that's gotta be a good comfort level for people to be able to plan,” Hagedorn said.

“There is progress being made but all things considered, I think this congress pulled up way short when it comes to these commodity programs and the reforms that are necessary,” Kind said.

“In the end, you all have pieces you like and pieces you don't like and that's the spirit of compromise,” Peck said.

The bill is expected to be passed by the senate and the White House has said President Obama will sign it into law if it reaches his desk.

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