The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 18, 2013

Your View: What is the farm bill?

By Wayne H. Schnelle
Special to The Globe

LOCKWOOD, Mo. — What is the farm bill, and who received the $940 billion in the farm bill last year?

Farmers who work with nature, rain, drought, hail, floods and frost make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population. It is hard to get any programs for assistance when we are only 2 percent of the population.

Many people think their food comes from the grocery store and do not realize what it cost to produce crops. A farmer will spend $250 for a sack of seed corn — plus the cost of fertilizer and insurance — creating a cost of $500 to grow one acre of corn.

Out of last year’s $940 billion farm bill, the food stamp program received 80 percent of the funding while rural economic development, school lunch programs and many other non-farm related programs received 10 percent, leaving the American farmer 10 percent of the $940 billion.

The House of Representatives wants to separate the bill and take the food stamp program out of it. With this, in order to qualify for food stamps, a person must be working or looking for work. If not, there must be a valid reason why that person is unable to work, and the House wants to require a drug test before a person can qualify for this assistance.

Wayne H. Schnelle