Rep. Johnson Defends Controversial Provisions in Farm Bill Draft

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





South Dakota’s lone U.S. representative, Republican Dusty Johnson, is standing firm on changes proposed in a new draft of the farm bill, particularly regarding anti-hunger and climate-focused programs.

Johnson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, brushed off criticisms of the draft, calling them exaggerated. The $1.5 trillion, 942-page draft is up for debate today, as it’s overdue for adoption, with the current extension expiring in September.

One key area of contention is the treatment of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Johnson emphasized that the draft doesn’t directly cut benefits for current SNAP recipients, but critics argue that it could limit future funding updates, potentially resulting in substantial cuts over the next decade.

Another hotly debated aspect is the rollback of climate-smart requirements for conservation projects funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. Johnson defended this move, advocating for more flexible conservation spending beyond climate-focused initiatives.

Despite criticisms from groups like Food & Water Watch, Johnson highlighted positive changes in the draft bill, including stronger support for farmers through price loss coverage adjustments and increased funding for rural broadband infrastructure.

Johnson also touted several provisions he championed, such as expanding funding for trade promotion programs and ensuring uniform pesticide labeling standards nationwide. Additionally, he proposed measures to address issues like dog importation health standards and livestock auction owner investments in small meat packers.

While the draft faces opposition from various quarters, Johnson remains confident in the bill’s ability to address the diverse needs of agricultural communities while navigating complex policy landscapes.

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