Until the 1960s, farm bills were mostly devoted to the commodity title. But when Congress became increasingly urban and suburban, farm-state representatives folded food stamps into farm policy to win majorities, Agri-Pulse reports. "Ever since inception of food program, there's always been a linkage between farm products and food assistance," said Roger Szemraj, agriculture and nutrition expert at OFW Law, a Washington firm.
Because there are fewer farmers and fewer congressional districts in rural areas, he said, the food-stamp portion of the Farm Bill gives urban representatives a reason to support the legislation. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told Agri-Pulse this summer that it would be hard to pass a bill only about farming without SNAP attached to it because it wouldn't get enough votes.
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