Controversy over too much reform or not enough destroyed the farm bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday, leaving area farmers facing uncertainty about their future crops.
In an unexpected turn, the bill failed with 195 voting for it, and 234 voting against the half-trillion-dollar measure.
Currently, farmers are working under a one-year extension from the 2008 farm bill that expires on Sept. 30. Many producers were hoping this new five-year bill would help bring more security so they could better prepare for future crops.
Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett was just one of many area producers that were in Washington D.C. Thursday pushing to get the bill passed.
"Farming is a very capital-intensive business. It's risky. They have to constantly battle weather, market risk and a lot of different things beyond their control," he said. "The farm bill provides that safety net through the crop insurance title, the commodity title and the conservation title. We need to be able to plan more than six to eight months at a time, which is what we're doing under this year extension."
While farmers were worried about their security with the farm bill failing, millions of others relying on food stamps were worried about their security if the farm bill passed.
Drastic reforms that would cut the food stamp program by $2-billion a year took center stage. The bill would have called for stricter qualifications for aid, and would allow states to impose work restrictions on those who receive the aid.
These programs help feed one in seven Americans. With that many families relying on the aid, many voted against the bill, saying the reforms were too much.
Some oppose the House bill, saying it would remove as many as 2 million families from getting the aid they need.
The Senate has already passed their version of the farm bill with less significant reforms than proposed by the House. The House is now back to the drawing board to try and find a compromise that can get approval, or they could look at approving the Senate version.
If no agreement can be made, congress may look at extending the 2008 farm bill for another year.
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.