U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) finally got to show off some of the world’s best farmland, and his “agriculture summit” turned out to be in the middle of the worst drought since 1988. At a meeting today Tuesday in the Lincoln College gymnasium, though, Schock said the timing is not bad:
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“Look – you don’t want bad news in your district, ever, but if ever there was a time to be talking about good ag policy, it’s this year. It’s, obviously, much easier to talk about farming and production agriculture when you’re having bumper crops every year, but part of the purpose of the Farm Bill is to look out for years that are not bumper years.”
Schock hosted the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who says the version of a new Farm Bill which has passed his committee takes a closer look at who can receive food stamp (SNAP) benefits: “Not one deserving person, I believe, will be short one calorie. If you qualify, you will receive your benefits under our version of SNAP. But you have to prove your income level; you have to prove your asset level. No more of this automatic eligibility,” he said.
The Senate has already passed a farm bill, and Schock says he is optimistic the House will pass one between members’ return to Washington the second week of September and the end of next month, when the current law expires.