SD Rep. Kristi Noem discusses importance of farm bill - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SD Rep. Kristi Noem discusses importance of farm bill

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U.S. Representatives from both North and South Dakota have spent a lot of time discussing the farm bill outside of Washington.

If you're not familiar with the farm bill, every five years a new version of the bill is crafted. The last bill was authorized in 2008, but it expires at the end of September.

The House Agriculture Committee which Congresswoman Kristi Noem serves on passed a new version last month but the bill is now stuck in the U.S. House.

There are two major components of this bill. The nutrition assistance program which deals with food stamps and farm assistance programs which would help cover farmers during a disaster like a drought which the state is currently in.

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem was with agriculture producers in a closed-door meeting in Sioux Falls to discuss the farm bill. Also with her, North Dakota Representative Rick Berg.

"I know the risk these producers take putting a crop in the ground and it's something we need to give some tools to help them manage it," Rep. Noem said.

Both know a lot about agriculture. They talked about why they're so passionate about the farm bill moving forward.

"I believe the moment we stop growing our own food and being able to grow it here in this country and protect the industry is when we become vulnerable to other countries," Rep. Noem said.

Noem's challenger, Matt Varilek was outside before the news conference started. He thinks the congresswoman isn't doing enough.

"Kristi has indicated that she doesn't support the effort to force a vote on the farm bill and that I think is questionable. I think we need to have this vote on the farm bill," Matt Varilek said.

Noem talked about why the vote has been delayed in the U.S. House.

"The conversation with the leadership team is they're concerned to bring a farm bill to the floor that would fail and build a precedent for a farm bill that wouldn't be successful. So they have been hesitant to bring it to the floor to a vote," Rep. Noem said.

But she says the longer this gets delayed, the worse off we could be.

"There's going to be a service gap that's going to hit the people trying to grow their own food and so that's why the time is now and we can not wait until the deadline," Rep. Noem said.

And if lawmakers wait, Noem says all of us could feel the impact.

"Food prices will go up as uncertainty goes on and that impacts everyone grocery shopping right now and that's why everyone should care to get a farm bill done," Rep. Noem said.

The U.S. House is on recess for five weeks. Noem stressed lawmakers should be working on this bill now. Noem says she's pushing for more support by educating other lawmakers who don't have agriculture in their districts.

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