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Continued: Minnesota farmers welcome certainty, substance of farm bill

The food stamp savings will be realized by closing a loophole used in some states — but not Minnesota — to qualify residents for food stamps. People who received as little as $1 from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program were deemed eligible for nutrition assistance.

Democrats Rick Nolan and Betty McCollum joined Republicans Erik Paulsen and John Kline in voting for approval.

The state’s dissenters came from the left — Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat — and the right — Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican. Each mentioned food stamps in explaining their votes.

Bachmann said nutrition, which makes up $756 billion of the farm bill’s $956 billion price tag, should be separated from agricultural programs. Ellison said cuts to food stamps were too severe when wealthy farmers were allowed to benefit from crop insurance and price protection.

“This bill is not perfect,” Rep. Tim Walz, the Democrat who represents Minnesota’s First Congressional District, said on the floor of the House. “Someone said you get perfect in heaven. Sometimes this place can be hell.”


Jim Spencer • 202-383-6123


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  • Tom Haag checked on equipment used to haul corn after he had emptied a wagon load of the grain into a semi trialer.

  • Sept. 18, 2013: Dan Erickson, regional representative for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association examined his corn crop at his Alden farm.

  • Tom Haag, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, made room in a storage bin for the coming harvest last year.

  • Big business in Minnesota

    • Farming is worth an estimated

    $8.2 billion a year

    • 50% of Minnesota’s

    land is farmed

    • 70% of the state’s farmers

    are enrolled in

    federal farm programs

    • 70% of the crop subsidies state farmers receive go to corn

    Highlights of the bill, A6

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