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“It’s a good, integrated safety net,” Pullins said.
The last farm bill was estimated to cover about $490 billion over five years, according to information from the Congressional Budget Office. Of that, about 80 percent of spending supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, according to the Congressional Research Service.
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McCracken said Brown’s office has visited between 20 to 25 counties across the state so far. Brown is serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee and helping write the 2018 Farm Bill. Thursday’s meeting was part of a series of discussions statewide to gather input about local concerns about the legislation.
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McCracken said farmers he’s spoken to have raised issues from improving conservation programs contained in the bill to looking for ways to more effectively promote specialty crops. Many farmers said they want continued support for conservation programs, but they aren’t always cost-effective, he said.
“We’ve heard that a lot from farmers, that they want to protect water quality but they want the programs to work for them,” McCracken said.