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Illinois farmers argued successfully before the nation's largest farm organization to keep federal nutrition programs together with risk management and conservation programs for farmers. Some 80-percent of the U-S Department of Agriculture's budget goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as "SNAP," or food stamps, while only 20 percent is used for crop insurance, conservation and other programs to help farmers. Altona (AL-tone-ah) farmer David Erickson, who serves as vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, argued to keep the programs together at the American Farm Bureau Federation's convention this week in Phoenix;

The federal nutrition and farm program comes up for renewal next year. Illinois farmers such as Jeff Kirwan of New Windsor, who also served as a voting delegate to the national farm group's annual meeting, explained the need for both;

The Illinoisans' argument proved successful, as farmers from other states agreed on the need for the rural-urban coalition on a new federal farm bill to continue.

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