South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem and the House Agriculture Committee passed a five-year farm and nutrition bill early Thursday morning.
The farm bill was passed 35-11 three weeks after the Senate passed its version of the half-trillion-dollar bill. Rep. Kristi Noem says the bill represents good government policy but it is a long way from perfect.
Noem had major roles in three provisions in the House version of the Farm Bill, all of which were included in some form in the final bill approved by the committee.
Livestock Disaster Protection Act: Would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) for the life of the Farm Bill as well as provide coverage for the current fiscal year, since the programs expired in 2011.
Protect our Prairies Act: Would encourage conservation of native sod and grassland, save taxpayer dollars and protect the habitat of wildlife critical to South Dakota's hunting industry.
"I fought every step of the way to ensure the Farm Bill addressed some of the issues most important to South Dakotans," Noem said. "South Dakota came out strong in this Farm Bill, and I'll keep fighting for our state as the process moves forward."
Next up is a decision by the House's Republican leaders on how to handle a bill that conservatives say is too expensive and Democrats don't like because of the food stamp cuts.
The House legislation would save $3.5 billion a year from current spending levels, with $1.6 billion coming from tightening rules for food stamp beneficiaries. Amendments by Democrats to erase those cuts and by Republicans to increase them failed.