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Farm Bill signed into law: SNAP benefits, direct payments to farmers cut

By Eleanor Black

President Barack Obama signed the Agriculture Act of 2014, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, on Feb. 7 at Michigan State University. The bill authorizes $956 billion to fund agricultural and food policy programs and cuts an estimated $23 billion over the next 10 years in some of these programs.

Some significant changes made in the bill include the elimination of the direct payments program for farmers, which will be replaced by an insurance program, and $8 billion worth of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next 10 years.

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David Lloyd, senior policy analyst at the children’s advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children, said the SNAP cuts enacted by the bill will affect almost one million households throughout the United States that will lose an average of $90 in benefits per month.

However, the $8 billion SNAP cut is far less than the original $40 billion that some Republicans had originally proposed.

But Lloyd said the cuts will only affect some states — not including Illinois — that were using a loophole to give residents increased SNAP benefits. Although Illinois will not be directly affected, the impact on the country as a whole could be detrimental.

“That affects the entire national economy, it’s not just isolated to those states necessarily, it’s not good for the country as a whole,” Lloyd said. “But that said, it’s much better than what would’ve been the case if we had enacted $40 billion in cuts. We certainly would have preferred that there had been no cuts, but it was much better than the alternatives that were being proposed.”

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Read the full article at Dailyillini.com

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