Franklin County farmers pleased with passing of $800M farm bill
DEERFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Franklin County farmers are glad a bill has passed, calling it long overdue.
"We're happy with the bill that's heading to the president now," said Ben Clark, owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms.
Congress has approved a massive farm bill allocating $867-billion to expand federal subsidies to relatives of farmers, provide permanent funding for farmers markets and local food programs.
Cuts to food stamps are not in the bill, which posed as the most controversial element of the farm bill.
The House Republicans' farm bill would have forced states to impose work requirements for food stamps on older and disabled workers.
"And we benefit," Clark told 22News. "We participate in taking SNAP funds here and a lot of farms do in the Valley, so you know, anything that's cutting it is not just hurting those subscribers it's also hurting farms and local businesses."
Congressman Richard Neal told 22News the passage of the farm bill offers stability.
"Well I think the most important accomplishment here in the farm bill is it strengthens the safety net and the safety net ensures that nutrition and the programs that accompany nutrition will be provided to those who need them," said Neal.
Farmers are hoping the bill will stabilize their businesses and get their products into more foreign markets.
The farm bill also legalizes the production of hemp, which is the fiber of the cannabis plant used to make rope, paper, and even fuel.