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Pioneer Viewpoints: Time to get something done on farm bill

Nothing confirms the petty gridlock of Washington, D.C., better than the recent farm bill discussion.

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a five-year farm bill two months ago, but instead passed an agriculture-only bill last month. It appears that House Republicans want to split the agriculture and nutrition policies into two separate bills, making deep cuts to the SNAP food assistance program.

But Democrats oppose splitting the bill into two.

Congress is now in recess, and it will have little time after reconvening to meet a Sept. 30 deadline. That’s when the current ag policy expires.

Veteran U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (DFL-7th District) said even he could not predict the farm bill’s outcome. That’s not a good sign.

 “It is more likely that we have an extension (of current law) than we get this bill done...” said Peterson, the top-ranking House ag Democrat. “I hope I’m wrong, but we will see.”

It’s time to stop playing politics and get the job done.

A positive order

 Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed an executive order last week directing state agencies to develop policies to guide them when working with tribal nations.

“It strengthens our relationship, government to government, with the state of Minnesota,” said Erma Vizenor, chairwoman of the White Earth Nation.

The order should help create a better understanding of tribal culture and have a positive impact on future projects, particularly on infrastructure such as roads.