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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?

USDA logoWell, the USDA just published a call-out for input on the bill (see details at the end of the post) with a good overview of how far-reaching the bill’s effects are.  Most people first think about the economic programs that the bill covers.  But think about this: the Farm Bill isn’t just for farmers.  It covers things like environmental conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs (that affect everyone who enjoys the great outdoors, not just farmers!).  It covers responses to natural disasters (which we’ve seen a lot of this year).  It covers food safety, research, business assistance, not to mention nutritional assistance.  It is huge!

In the USDA’s own words, “from the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere.”

Got your own opinions on why the Farm Bill is important?  Tweet at @USDA with the hashtag #MyFarmBill and let them know what’s at stake for you without the 2012 Food, Farm and Jobs bill.