Last week, colleague of Southern Farm Network and SFNToday dot com, Tony St. James, had an opportunity to talk about the 2018 farm bill with North Carolina’s David Rouzer:
When it comes to writing the next farm bill, congress is already looking to the 2018 farm bill.
Representative David Rouzer is chairman of the House Ag Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture…
“Chairman Conaway has been very aggressive with the hearings, that started in the last congress, quite frankly, when he was named chairman. We have examined most every issue under the sun, from the basic safety net structure that’s a part of the current farm bill, to food aid issues, where you’ve got some interest in moving away from commodity assistance to cash only; that’s and area of the debate that I’ve been involved in because that actually is under the jurisdiction of my subcommittee, Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, that foreign ag piece is of course, is food aid, and it’s also our food access program, and the foreign market development program, which we’re going to work hard to try to protect funding for that.
“And that’s going to be one of the big questions as we move into the next farm bill discussion that we’re having now, and as we move forward; is just how much of the budget are we going to be able to protect and use for the next farm bill.”
It’s not just about protecting what’s there, but making what’s there, work.
“We’ve got modifications we’d like to make to the SNAP program, and one of the particular problems we have with food stamps in particular, is what we call ‘the cliff’, once you advance yourself and make a higher salary, you lose your benefit. So, therefore, you have a natural incentive for people to not take that extra step to better themselves. So, one of the things that we’re looking at as a committee, is how we can restructure that program to wean people off our welfare programs and food stamps in particular, and do it in a way that incentivizes people to do it.”
And when it comes to Title I, Rouzer explains:
“Those are some of the big issues that we’re going to be dealing with, and I think that folks will find that the overall structure of the safety net that’s in the current farm bill isn’t going to change in any dramatic way, but we want to shore it up.”
Congressman David Rouzer, Chairman of the House Ag Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture from the 7th Congressional District of North Carolina.
And from Washington, DC, I’m Tony St. James.