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House passes Farm Bill with Collins’ support

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Democrats decry passage without nutrition programs

WASHINGTON – A Farm Bill narrowly passed the House of Representatives today with the backing of Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence.

The legislation was criticized by another area Congressional representative. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, noted the Farm Bill didn’t include funding for nutrition programs for the first time since 1973.

She rebuked the Republican-majority on the House floor and continued to criticize them on Twitter, saying the Republican-led approval of the Farm Bill today was “shameful and a new low for the GOP.”

Collins, in a statement, said the nutrition programs will be taken up on a later date. He serves on the House Agriculture Committee.

“Today’s passage of a House Farm Bill is a critical step forward for the hardworking men and women of our agricultural community,” he said in a statement this afternoon. “This legislation provides farmers with needed regulatory reform and cost-effective programs while saving taxpayers money by ending duplicative and overlapping programs.”

Collins said the legislation will direct more research funding to land-grant universities, including Cornell, “which provide critical support to our local farms and growers.”

The food stamp program accounted for 80 percent of a Senate version of the Farm Bill.

Dean Norton of Elba, president of New York Farm Bureau, said the legislation should have been a great victory for the farm community, but it continues the uncertainty over the country’s ag policy.

“While many of the provisions in this House Farm bill are good for New York and we fought hard for their inclusion, we opposed splitting the agriculture and nutrition portions into separate bills that break apart the urban-rural collaboration that has been critical for decades in advancing farm and food policy in this country,” Norton said in a statement.

The House vote brings “unknown long-term ramifications,” Norton said.

“New York Farm Bureau will continue to work with the entire Congressional delegation for successful completion of a Farm Bill that serves the needs of farmers, our communities and our neighbors in need,” he said.