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Did you know the Farm Bill covers more than farms?

Caitlin Whyte
/
WXXI News
New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball (center) is traveling the state, asking for comment.

The New York Agriculture Commissioner is touring the state asking for input on how the Farm Bill affects New Yorkers.

Every five years, Congress reviews the bill, so Commissioner Richard Ball is asking constituents what does and does not need to change.

"It’s important for the people who do actually farm every day, do eat every day, do rely on these programs every day, to be aware that there is an opportunity to maybe think about how we go forward, is there some changes that we want to make?" he says.

Ball says that many people might not know how wide the farm bill reach is; 80 percent of it covers nutrition programs.

"As we go forward, we've had some real challenges across the country with natural disasters; certainly in New York state, we've seen a number of them," Ball says. "Disaster preparedness is part of the Farm Bill, crop insurance is part of the Farm Bill, agricultural trade is part of the Farm Bill."

Ball believes the country needs at least the same, if not more, of a farm bill as the agriculture industry continues to grow across the country. With President Trump's proposed budget cutting farm subsidies and SNAP benefits - both covered by the expansive bill - many are worried about the future.

"Most of the comments we're hearing is we don’t want to cut anything, we want to maintain the programs and the safety nets we have for people," Ball says.

You can still submit comments online.

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