Wednesday the Senate passed a final version of the farm bill, which includes provisions that strengthen conservation efforts across the country.
For months, the bill was stalled in the Senate due to the opposition to Republican-backed provisions that would tighten the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) income eligibility requirements while imposing stricter work requirements for able-bodied adults.
The farm bill provides an economic safety net for farmers and funds nutritional programs for low-income families. The previous bill expired Sept. 30, but was extended to continue negotiations.
The House version of the bill would have thrown an estimated 13,000 Nevadans off SNAP — more commonly known as food stamps — while forcing the state to hire as many as 900 more case managers to administer new work and training requirements.
Congress finally adopted a version of the bill that closely mirrors the Senate’s bipartisan version without the work requirements, which passed 86 to 11 in June.
“The final package contains several priorities for Nevada: it preserves funding for land and water conservation, food assistance programs, and includes provisions that prioritize the needs of Tribal communities,” wrote Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to address issues that matter most to Nevadans.”
The bill also included bipartisan provisions that Cortez Masto introduced which would create a permanent interagency rural council and a working group dedicated to expanding broadband access in rural areas.
Rep. Dina Titus praised Congress for rejecting cuts to SNAP and investments made towards farmers markets and food banks.
“The final Farm Bill agreement is a victory for families, animals, and the environment,” Titus wrote in a statement.
The final bill also removed provisions that would have rolled back regulations on pesticides and lifted restrictions on legalized hemp research and production, which Titus hailed, as “a breakthrough that I have long supported.”