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The House has approved passage of a sweeping farm bill. The long-delayed legislation funds agricultural programs for five years.

Local Congressman Chris Collins said he voted for its approval today.

“The bipartisan Farm Bill provides our farmers and producers the certainty they deserve,” Collins said in a statement. “The bill saves taxpayers billions of dollars, includes historic reform for our dairy policy by repealing outdated programs, and strengthens crop insurance and other protection programs our farmers need. And despite the rhetoric, the Farm Bill does not take away Food Stamps from those who are truly eligible. Instead, it protects Food Stamp funding by closing loopholes to stop ongoing fraud and abuse. This is not a perfect bill, but it is a bipartisan compromise that addresses many of the critical issues facing our farmers in NY-27 and around the country.”

The bipartisan measure cuts more than $20 billion in agriculture programs and slashes federal food stamp programs by about one-percent. It also eliminates some farm subsidies but preserves other subsidy programs.

The measure was held up for two years in disputes over subsidies, dairy pricing, crop insurance and the food stamp programs.

Collins says farmers can now experience certainty in their farm operations.

UPDATE: A statement from the NY Farm Bureau

“This is a significant day for New York’s farmers who are seeing the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over the Farm Bill lifting away in Washington. The House has passed the Farm Bill conference report in a bi-partisan fashion, a bill that takes into account many of New York’s diverse agricultural needs.

The improved safety net for our dairy farmers as well as many of our fruit and vegetable growers who have had little recourse following a natural disaster is a worthy investment into our food system. The sensible approach not only saves taxpayers billions of dollars, but also reassures farmers and consumers alike that our food system is protected during times of need.

The Farm Bill also invests in a number of important research and support programs that will assist the state’s growing organic and local food movement, encourages the expansion of maple production, and provides for rural economic development that will help get healthy food from the farm to the dinner table. In addition, the Farm Bill extends a number of critical conservation and farmland protection programs that are widely used in New York.

New York Farm Bureau would like to thank the members of the New York delegation who have supported this bill and worked hard for its passage. We are encouraging the Senate to quickly follow suit for the benefit of New York agriculture,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.

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