Facing an approaching deadline and a major sticking point he 2018 farm bill conference committee had its first public meeting in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Congressman Jodey Arrington spoke about some of his concerns surrounding farm income, which is expected to fall again this year.
"So the safety net to me is the heart of it. We spent 0.26 of 1% of the entire federal budget to get a safety net right. So that way China won't put us out of the food and fiber making business. 0.26 of 1%. So I'm encouraged by what I've seen there on that side but I'm concerned. I'm concerned about the age. From going from 900-700-thousand that was at 2.5 million in 2002. And we've had a 50% decline in farm income.50% decline in farming income in last 3 years, 40% increase in bankruptcies. The young guys can't get into this business if we don't do it and do it quickly. " says Arrington.
Arrington also talked about reforming the food stamp program, also known as SNAP.
"Yall have heard the statistics. We have millions. We need to pull them up and out of the welfare trap and dependence on this government. And give them the opportunity for a better quality of life for them and their families. That's what that reform is about." Says Arrington.
The current farm bill expires on the 30th of this month. Both houses of Congress are working on the 2018 farm bill to get it to president trump's desk before the end of the month.