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Published June 21, 2013, 09:15 AM

House farm bill failure upsets Dakotas farmers

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Farm groups and politicians in the Dakotas say they're disappointed in the failure of the U.S. House to pass a farm bill and think it could hamper farmers' ability to plan for the future.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Farm groups and politicians in the Dakotas say they're disappointed in the failure of the U.S. House to pass a farm bill and think it could hamper farmers' ability to plan for the future.

The five-year, $500 billion proposal failed on a 234-195 vote Thursday. Many Republicans wanted deeper cuts to the food stamp program, and the traditionally bipartisan bill also suffered from lack of Democratic support.

"Our hopes were up, but it's so divisive up there that it just didn't happen," Jeremy Freking, executive director of the South Dakota Soybean Association, told the Argus Leader newspaper.

The Dakotas' two U.S. House members, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., both voted for the bill.

"A majority of the House of Representatives today failed to do the right thing for producers and consumers across the country," Noem said after the vote. "I am incredibly disappointed that while we were able to pass this bill out of the Agriculture Committee with strong bipartisan support, members today were unable to put their own politics aside to do what's best for the American people.

Cramer, like Noem, said he was disappointed in members of both parties.

"At the same time, the committee and amendment action leading up to the vote was the most bipartisan, regular order process I have seen during my time so far in Congress, and I believe it is a hopeful sign of what we can accomplish if President Obama and other House Democrats will come to the negotiating table," he said.

The Senate passed its version of the farm bill last week. If the two chambers can't come together on a bill, lawmakers in farming-centric states could push for an extension of the farm bill that expires in September or negotiate a new bill with the Senate and try again.

"There's a lot of work ahead of us. That much we know," North Dakota Farmers Union President Woody Barth told Agweek.

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