MATT HARRIS, Ephrata
With the presidential election behind us, Congress needs to move forward and pass the 2012 Farm Bill. This bill gives opportunities to the more than 39,500 local Washington farms that grow over 300 commodities. Our $40 billion Washington food and agriculture community employs more than 160,000 people and contributes 12 percent to the state's economy and includes nearly $13 billion in exported goods through our Washington ports.
Most folks think the Farm Bill is all about paying fat subsidies to rich farmers, and that's far from the truth. It's about providing healthy food options to those who benefit from Women, Infants and Children program and the school lunch and breakfast feeding programs.
It's about developing cost sharing partnerships with our universities for the development of critical research and market development for agriculture that's in your backyard.
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What's truly amazing is that the Senate's version of the 2012 Farm Bill would cost taxpayers $23.6 billion less than if the 2008 Farm Bill were extended. The House version saves even more money by cutting close to $35 billion.
The 2012 Farm Bill saves taxpayers dollars, provides opportunities for trade, grows more jobs and provides more access to wholesome foods that are grown in this state.