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West Texas farmers welcome Senate Farm Bill

Updated: Jun. 29, 2018 at 10:44 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KCBD) - A week after the House passed their farm bill, the Senate passed their version of the bill with an 86 to 11 vote on Thursday.

Now, representatives from the two chambers will meet for a conference to hopefully finalize a version of the bill that will be voted on by the House and Senate, and eventually the President.

It may be a long road though, as there are some major differences in the two bills on topics from food stamps to farm subsidies.

Congressman Jodey Arrington issued a statement regarding the Senate's passing of the Farm Bill on Friday:

RELATED STORY: Arrington Statement on Senate Farm Bill

David Weaver, CEO of the South Plains Food Bank, opposes the House's proposed work requirements for the SNAP program. The bill requires a person to work 20 hours a week or enroll in job training to receive food stamp benefits.

For those unemployed, it shortens the amount of time for a person to find a job from three to two months.

"A lot of what's happening now, to me, it seems like some of the amendments are really being offered, not as an incentive to work, but as a punishment for being poor," Weaver said.

Weaver cites raising the age for those eligible for work requirements from 50 to 59. He also said the work requirements might be hard for parents with young children.

"Some of the provisions that are being offered as amendments would lower that age range to six year olds so that if a person may have a child in school, they're still expected to be working or volunteering 20 hours a week. The concern is what happens if that job is only available in the evenings or a time that daycare needs to be provided for those children?"

The South Plains Agricultural community welcomes the bills as they believe they best protect farmers, especially those that grow cotton. They are also glad the bills have passed with enough time to work out compromises that satisfy both sides of the isle.

"We're definitely supportive of that. Our producers need it. That way they have long-term viability and sustainability in making plans and also looking at what their operations are going to try and produce over the next couple of years. It's a big deal. We definitely are advocating for a bill done on time rather than a short-term extension to get us through the process," said Kody Bessent, the VP of Operations and Legislative Affairs for the Plains Cotton Growers.

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