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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan holds his weekly press conference with reporters on Jan. 18 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Work on the Farm Bill continues after it was defeated May 18. 

Representatives from the House and the Senate announced on Thursday that they have reached a “deal in principle” on the Farm Bill.

The sweeping farm legislation will set federal, agricultural and nutritional policy for the next five years. It covers a wide range of issues relevant to Northern New York residents, including protections for specialty crops, access to rural broadband, changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and a number of dairy protections.

The statement from the House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs releases few details about how the differences in the two bills — particularly around changes to SNAP — have been resolved.

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill,” the statement reads. “We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as (Congressional Budget Office) scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik said she found the agreement encouraging.

“We are awaiting details of the final agreement but are encouraged by the reports of progress in the negotiations,” wrote Stefanik spokesman Tom Flanagin. “Congresswoman Stefanik’s priority is ensuring support for our North Country farmers, especially our dairy producers who have faced a crisis in recent years. Congresswoman Stefanik led on many initiatives in the House-passed Farm Bill and hopes that an agreement can be passed soon.”

The New York Farm Bureau also expressed their support for the agreement.

“While we have yet to see specific details, we are hopeful that final passage of the legislation will give farmers some reassurance moving forward that critical risk management tools will be in place as they plan the best they can for next year,” wrote State Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “Improvements to the dairy safety net, the continuation of important conservation programs as well as support and research programs for New York’s specialty crop producers are much needed in this tough farm economy ... We encourage our Senators and Representatives to support the compromise legislation.”

For more information about the farm bill visit https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/

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