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South Dakota Farmers Union President: Congress needs to pass a farm bill

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The President of the South Dakota Farmers Union is telling Congress to pass a new farm bill because of uncertainties with extending the current farm bill.

The current farm bill was passed in 2008 and expires at the end of September. South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says Congress needs to pass a new measure ahead of the November elections and forgo an effort to pass a small extension of the current farm bill. Sombke says passing an extension does not provide farmers and ranchers with certainty.

"Politicians who are up for election are making feeding our nation with safe and affordable food a political football and it's a dangerous game," Sombke said. "They need to put the health and well-being of Americans ahead of winning political points."

Sombke said the Senate's version of the farm bill cuts $23 billion in farm programs while keeping a safety net for agricultural producers. Also, Sombke said the House version goes further and cuts $35 billion from farm and nutrition programs over the next decade.

Both versions eliminate direct payments to farmers, and the differences in the bill would need to be decided on by a conference committee between the House and Senate before the final bill could be passed.

"It's time to worry about America as a whole. If the non-partisan issue of feeding Americans can't be passed the 2010 class didn't live up to their word and need to be replaced by people who will lead for America, not just to get re-elected," Sombke said.

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