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Farm Bill passes, affects farming subsidies, food stamp program

On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Senate approved a $1 trillion Farm Bill, which was then passed along to President Barack Obama, who signed it on Friday, Feb. 7 at Michigan State University.

The bill will affect the approximately 850,000 households currently receiving food stamp benefits under the Supplemental  Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Over the next 10 years, over $8.7 billion will be cut from the program, an average of $90 per household, per month.

Maria Desangles, assistant director of poverty concerns and faith connections at Loyola’s Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ), weighed in on the implications of the bill.

“Knowing all the people our students and center relate to on a weekly basis, I find it difficult to imagine the impact the cuts in food stamps will have on families and members of our greater community,” Desangles said. “Before the cuts, most people struggled to make those resources last until the end of the month. Now, I cannot help but think that those same families wonder how they will put food on their tables.”

Upon signing the bill, officially known as the Agriculture Act of 2014, Obama said, “We’ve had the strongest stretch of farm exports in our history. We are selling more stuff to more people than ever before. What we grow here and what we sell is a huge boost to the entire economy, but particularly the rural economy.” Obama explained that part of the reason he approved the bill was to help struggling farming families who are barely making enough money to put food on the table.

However, the bill raises some controversy with how it will distribute subsidies among farmers across the nation. It will provide subsidies to 75% of large farms and 24% of small farms. “The winners in the farm bill are just the big farms, not who we think benefits,” said Ann Tumolo, president of the Loyola College Republicans.

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Farm Bill passes, affects farming subsidies, food stamp program