Farm country and the House farm bill


Has farm country lost its political clout? Well, it passed the House farm bill.

Pundits, journalists, even the Secretary of Agriculture have spent the last few months lamenting farm country’s lack of national pull. But when the U.S. House passed its version of the farm bill last week, Republican leaders leaned heavily on lawmakers from rural areas. The voting map (below) tells the tale: Big blocks of No votes on the coasts and a wide swath of support running from eastern Washington south and west to Florida.

Of course, the House farm bill vote was more about party politics than location. It was highly partisan – not a single Democrat voted for the bill, while 12 Republicans defected – and many rural areas are represented by Republicans.  

Still, just take a look at the map. This farm bill stripped out funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often known as food stamps, and contained only farm policy. It managed to garner 50 more Republican votes than the House’s previous farm bill legislation, which included SNAP funding. Many of the Republicans who voted against the farm bill that contained food aid funding voted for the farm-only farm bill.

So how did your representative vote on the House farm bill? Just find your Congressional District on the map.


Congressional district data compiled and mapped by Community Media Database, Rob McCausland, developer. Farm bill voting data compiled by Derek Willis/New York Times. Map by Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media.