A long-awaited version of the farm bill passed by the U.S. House Wednesday morning could have wide ranging effects here in Oregon. Now it heads to the Senate.
The bill includes a one-year extension of a program that makes payments to counties for federal land that otherwise would be collecting property taxes. Last year, that amounted to more than $15 million for Oregon counties.
Another provision would cut $8 billion over a decade from the food stamp program known as SNAP.
That’s only about a 1 percent cut, but Oregon Food Bank public policy advocate Jeff Kleen says the cuts come from a program that aligns SNAP benefits with low income energy assistance. As one of just 15 states taking advantage of that program, he says Oregon would be disproportionately affected, with 78,000 households seeing their benefits cut by an average of $58 per month.
The bill reauthorizes funding for specialty crop research. It would also provide retroactive funding for ranchers in Eastern Oregon who experienced livestock losses during the 2012 wildfire season.
Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden voted for the bill. Earl Blumenauer and Peter Defazio both voted no.