El Paso County farmers, SNAP users face impacts as $430 billion Farm Bill deadline approaches

El Paso News

Farmers across the country could be directly impacted if Congress fails to reach some sort of agreement on a $430 billion Farm Bill.

Those impacted would include thousands of farmers and ranchers across Texas and El Paso County. According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Lone Star State has the most farmers and ranchers in the nation.

The massive farm bill includes several safety net programs aimed at protecting farmers from damaged crops.

Few people across El Paso are as connected with the local farming community as Lindsay Snodgrass, manager of South Plains Implement. He supplies many local farmers with equipment.

Snodgrass says the federal assistance is there for the many potential disasters mother nature can bring to a yearly harvest.

“Such as drought, excessive rain or hail, these farmers have to carry out insurance on their crops,” Snodgrass explained.

He says any cuts to the programs could put more pressure on farmers who are already dealing with financial uncertainty.

“They go through a lot every day,” Snodgrass said.

And what you pay at the grocery store can be linked to how a harvest turns out for a farmer.

But what is holding up the bill in Congress has very little to do with farmers. The largest program funded in the bill is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. A house version of the bill is calling for strict work requirements for SNAP users.

More than 3.7 million Texans benefit from the SNAP program, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

Our media partners at the Texas Tribune report that a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House bill found that 1.2 million would lose benefits by 2028 under the House bill. Democrats in both chambers strongly oppose increased work requirements and it is unlikely a bill with work requirements could pass the Senate.  

Congress has until Sept. 30 to reach an agreement. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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