South Dakota lawmakers hoping for certainty for farmers, lenders with new Farm Bill

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The $867 billion farm security blanket called the Farm Bill is on its way to becoming law.

"It's an exciting day obviously...the culmination of a lot of work," said Senator John Thune (R-SD).

Thune serves on the Agriculture Committee and says it has been a long two-year process getting the bill completed. He says South Dakotans will see plenty of benefits in this legislation, including the expansion of the conservation reserve program and improved farm safety nets.

"It's always about doing the best that you can do given the fact that you've got a lot of different geographic areas of the country that come to a Farm Bill," said Thune.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) says the legislation is a great compromise between the House and Senate. He says the certainty the bill provides for farmers in the way of crop insurance has widespread impact.

"Lenders can actually loan money for operating expenses for the next crop year knowing that the farmers have the ability that in the case of a catastrophe, major weather and so forth, that there's at least the ability to repay the loans that they're making to them," said Rounds.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD) thinks the bill will help build the future of South Dakota. But she thinks the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) title that provides needy families with food security could've gone further with work requirements for accessing the program.

"I would've liked to see more reforms and help people get back to work but obviously this is a program that helps folks in need and it's continuing forward in this Farm Bill," said Noem.

The delegation says their focus now turns to trade agreements, making sure their farmers have buyers for their products. They say they'd like a deal between the Trump administration and China to come soon.