MTPR

Farm Bill

Senator Jon Tester.
Courtesy Sen. Jon Tester

Senator Jon Tester says he’s concerned about Congress’ ability to pass numerous spending bills necessary to keep the federal government operating by the end of this month’s deadline.

Last year a similar time crunch led to Congress passing a so-called omnibus bill. Critics say omnibus bills lack the transparency of passing multiple appropriation bills under so-called “regular order.”

Wednesday a joint U.S. House and Senate committee began a potentially week-long process of reconciling two versions of the Farm Bill. The current bill expires at the end of this month.

Small farm owners in the Flathead Valley worry one version could severely impact SNAP benefits in Montana.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines appearing on C-SPAN on Wednesday, July 25, 2018.
C-SPAN

U.S. Senator Steve Daines says that if there’s a trade war, the first casualties will be American farmers.

"That is a big problem, so we don’t want that. Nobody wants that. President Trump doesn’t want that," said Daines.

The Senate has started debating its version of the Farm Bill, and both of Montana’s Senators, Jon Tester and Steve Daines, say their chamber’s version of the Farm Bill is good news for Montana farmers and ranchers. But they disagree on at least one important aspect of it.

First, Yellowstone Public Radio's Jackie Yamanaka reports on what they agree on.

A team of volunteers rallied to get thousands of pounds of potatoes and bread to Heart Butte after a severe storm stranded the community on New Year's Day.
Courtesy Kathryn Hayes

Hunger is a chronic problem for many families on the Blackfeet Reservation. Grocery stores are few and far between, and the poverty rate is around 40 percent.

Like in any rural area, fresh food especially is expensive. It takes a lot of hours in the car or on the phone to access public assistance programs. But when a severe winter storm blew in around New Year's Eve, the chronic hunger issue became an acute crisis.

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