Idaho grain producers hail passage of food stamp-free farm bill

The Idaho Grain Producers Association says wheat and barley growers “breathed a sigh of relief” with Thursday’s House passage of a new farm bill that removes the food stamp program. H.R. 2642 passed 216-208, with 12 Republicans joining 196 Democrats in voting no.

Idaho GOP Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador were in the majority.

The House vote came after conservative Republicans shocked House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in June by defeating a bill including traditional farm subsidies and food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. SNAP accounted for 80 percent of the original bill’s cost.

The new House bill represents the first time since 1973 food stamps have been decoupled from the Farm Bill.

The grain producers group supports keeping farm and food programs in the same bill, “but we placed a higher priority on just getting something through the House,” said IGPA President Clark Hamilton, a farmer in Ririe.

Thursday’s bill was fiercely opposed by Democrats, who used procedural measures to delay the vote for hours. The bipartisan Senate bill includes food stamps.


The Idaho Grain Producers Association news release follows:

July 12, 2013

IGPA Applauds House Vote on Farm Bill

Appreciates support from Idaho delegation

Boise, ID – Idaho’s wheat and barley farmers breathed a sigh of relief with yesterday’s passage by the House of Representatives of a modified version of new federal farm legislation. The successful measure was a pared down version from an unprecedented failed attempt in late June.

The revised bill (HR 2642) includes provisions on farm programs, crop insurance and other areas but excludes the controversial nutrition title. The bill achieved passage by a slim 216-208 margin with votes falling along strict partisan lines as House members, concerned with the separation of food and nutrition programs from the measure, staged a strong protest in opposition.

“Frankly the IGPA is surprised that the House moved so quickly and ultimately succeeded at passing the Farm Bill”, said IGPA President and Ririe farmer Clark Hamilton. “Our association felt that farm and food programs should stay together, but we placed a higher priority on just getting something through the House,” added Hamilton.

The IGPA has worked diligently to guide Congress in developing a reform-minded bill that provides a responsible, market-oriented and effective safety net to the state’s wheat and barley farmers. House passage of the new farm provisions in HR 2642 is an important step to help growers plan for the next five years.

“House passage of these farm programs is a big step and we applaud the support of Congressman Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador”, said President Hamilton. “There are still significant hurdles to overcome with the Senate, but we now have some fresh daylight and renewed optimism in farm country.”

Established in 1957 as the Idaho State Wheat Growers (now operating as the Idaho Grain Producers Association), the mission of the IGPA is to represent the production interests of Idaho wheat and barley farmers at the county, state and federal levels in order to enhance their long term viability.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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