As Congress Passes a New Farm Bill, Sonny Perdue Grumbles About Poor People Still Getting SNAP Benefits

Here’s what made it into the final legislation.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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Congress has finally passed a new farm bill, that twice-a-decade legislation that shapes US agriculture and hunger policy. The bill has lately become a sticking point between Democrats and Republicans, especially in regards to adding work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But the bill passed Tuesday in the Senate and Wednesday in the House, leaving SNAP intact, throwing out a last-minute push for expanded forest management, and legalizing industrial hemp after close to a century of exile.

In a statement, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue commended the bill’s passage, but couldn’t resist commenting on the Republican-backed policies that were left out of it:

“While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities. I commend Congress for bringing the Farm Bill across the finish line and am encouraging President Trump to sign it.”

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) released a statement echoing Perdue’s call to President Donald Trump and hailing new insurance coverage options for dairy farmers, especially given the growing dairy crisis. “Rural America is facing so many challenges and this bill goes a long way toward providing needed certainty to farmers and ranchers,” he said.

The bill also included a new provision focused on soil health, which was pushed for inclusion by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and supported by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and others. It incentivizes farmers to adopt environmentally friendly soil management practices like reducing tillage, planting cover crops, and designing crop rotations that help sequester carbon.

“As a farmer, I have seen the benefits of these practices on my own farm and look forward to working with the USDA to document these environmental values on a larger scale,” said farmer Keith Alverson, who is on the board of the National Corn Growers Association and a member of environmental group E2, which promoted the provision.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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