Farm Bill Breakdown: What’s Not So Great

Yes, we have a farm bill.  Let me repeat that, for those who’ve been hearing us talk about this this so much over the past two years: we now have a new five-year farm bill. This marks the conclusion of a monumental effort over the past two and a half years to pass a bill; since the last bill expired, many programs have foundered without Congressional authorization or at best, coasted along on auto-pilot.  Read More  Read More

2014 Farm Bill Passes Final Hurdle, Signed into Law

President Obama signing the farm bill. Image courtesy of whitehouse.gov. It’s official – we now have a farm bill.  On Friday, President Obama officially signed it into law, marking the end of two years of campaigning.  As we previously reported, the bill is a mixed bag of good and bad.  Funding for many beginning farmer programs, including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, are at the highest level we could hope for. ... Read More

Farm Bill Update – US House moves a step toward the finish line

A quick farm bill 2013 update, for all you policy wonks out there (and busy farmers too!): Two dozen members of Congress held a press conference earlier this summer in support of the SNAP program, which was just cut nearly $40 billion in the House bill.  Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s website. We broke the news last week that the House had passed a nutrition-title-only bill last week (here’s a good article summarizing how... Read More

Another step toward a farm bill as the clock ticks down

Well, we’ve been focusing the past couple weeks on the proposed food safety regulations that are turning a lot of heads in the farming communities, but let’s take a quick moment to check out what Congress is up to on the Farm Bill. Congressman Frank Lucas, chair of the House Agriculture Committee Congress has only a couple weeks left before the September 30th expiration of the farm bill extension.  As you’ll recall from earlier... Read More

Young farmers taking a stand against hunger

Last month we heard that the House was passing a farm bill that didn’t include a nutrition title – effectively leaving the millions of people who depend on food assistance in their times of need out in the cold.  And now, as reported here yesterday, House leaders proposed a separate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) bill – one with ten times the cuts that the Senate proposed last month. NYFC put out a call to action,... Read More

Farm Bill policy update – One step forward, one step back

It feels like we’re accelerating toward September 30th, the expiration of the current farm bill extension!  That date has always been on the long-term horizon, but until recently there’d been hope of real headway on creating a full five-year bill to replace these short-term solutions.  Congress is back in home-districts for the month of August, so they’ll have only one month to get it done, lest we face a re-enactment of last year’s... Read More

Farmers fight back to protect SNAP – take action now!

Last week, for the first time in 40 years, the House of Representatives passed a farm bill without the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also called SNAP or food stamps). This was an unprecedented move, and came despite the fact that the Senate had already passed a bill that included the nutrition title.  Although nutrition programs don’t directly benefit our farms in the same way that FSA loans or agricultural education programs do,... Read More

After Farm Bill flop, Congress follows up with a split-bill fiasco

Late last week, the House of Representatives took up the Farm Bill again, after having failed to pass a bill last month.  This time, House leaders decided to take an unusual path and split the bill up, passing only the section on farm subsidies and related programs.  The part left out covered the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as the Food Stamps program – which had accounted for the largest part of... Read More

How Important is the Farm Bill? The USDA Responds

As we all know, Congress is working to put together a new Farm Bill to replace the last five-year bill that expired earlier this fall.  A lot of farmers have been up in arms to make sure that the new bill is as good as (or better than!) the old, but a lot of folks too have expressed a lack of concern – after all, how important is the Farm Bill? Well, the USDA just published a call-out for input on the bill (see details at the end of the post)... Read More