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Here Comes The Farm Bill!

by Countable | Updated on 4.10.18

What’s the story?

  • The Farm Bill comes around every five years, and it’s that time again. Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have been working on formulating the bill, and the House version is expected to be released soon. Like all omnibus bills, the legislation is expected to be massive and controversial.

  • Before we get dragged into controversy on the particulars, let’s review the history and intent of the legislation overall.

  • The Farm Bill began during the Great Depression to help American farmers and address nutrition issues. There has been a Farm Bill every five years since.

  • The intent of the bill, according to the Congressional Research Service, is to support an "array of agricultural and food programs. Although agricultural policies sometimes are created and changed by freestanding legislation or as part of other major laws, the farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues."

  • 1973 was the first year the bill was presented as an omnibus, incorporating the food stamp program. Other categories have been added over the course of time — new conservation laws (1985), organic agriculture (1990), research programs (1996), bioenergy (2002), and horticulture and local food systems (2008).

  • The last Farm Bill in 2014 had 12 sections, though four constituted the vast majority of the projected cost — Nutrition (79.9%), Crop Insurance (8.5%), Conservation (5.8%), and Commodities and Disaster (4.8%). The other 8 sections — Trade, Horticulture, Research, Energy, Rural Development, Forestry, Credit, Miscellaneous — only account for 1 percent of the overall costs.

  • What would have been the 2013 Farm Bill became the 2014 Farm Bill because debates about how to reduce the overall costs of the legislation delayed its formulation and passage. Most contention focused on nutrition funding, particularly food stamps, now called SNAP. Republicans have been working to formulate expanded work requirements to reduce costs reports the Wall Street Journal, but Democrats have said the measures are "[Paul] Ryan’s attempt at welfare reform" with the American public as guinea pigs.

What do you think?

Have you been looking towards the introduction of the latest Farm Bill? What sections are you most concerned about? What do you hope is included, and what would you like to see changed or removed?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pexels.com / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(52)
  • John
    04/11/2018
    ···

    Support farmers with organic, environmental friendly practices. Fully fund, and expand, SNAP. Curtail chemical poisoning of the land and water. Stop supporting huge corporate farms and support smaller and local.

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  • MinnesotaMom
    04/11/2018
    ···

    We should subsidize healthy foods not corn, which gets turned into corn syrup & junk food of every description. We should be helping struggling small & family farms transition to organic growing which will get them long term higher prices & preserves a way of life Americans value (owner operated farms) while preserving soil tilth, decreasing toxic runoff & protecting farmers & farm workers from toxic agricultural chemicals all for the cost of one time grants & loan forgiveness instead of ongoing & costly price supports & subsidies. Consumers vote for this kind of farming by continuing to pay higher prices for it.

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  • RadicalModerate
    04/11/2018
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    Legalize cannabis.

    Like (35)
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  • NoHedges
    04/11/2018
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    With a global food shortages on the horizon of 2050, we need to be doing everything we can to support and expand the US farming infrastructure. Oil and pharmaceutical companies do not need 18 billion in subsidies. Both big oil and mega pharmaceuticals are highly profitable and must start sustaining themselves, or else, be allowed to fail and make way for change. 🚥However, the same cannot be said about our farming industry, which, by the way is a huge source of economic fuel via exports. ✍️The recent rash and tirade of tariffs issued by Mr. Trump are taking their toll and furthering the damage to a vital industry, which is already lacking in the necessary infrastructure and technologies required to keep the US competitive.

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  • D
    04/12/2018
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    Lets see legalization of industrial hemp this year. Absolutely no reason for this to be delayed further. This is not cannabis, it’s hemp!

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  • Michelle
    04/11/2018
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    It is urgent to fully fund and expand SNAP. The people who this helps are, for the most part, already working, and have minimum wage jobs at the least. Likely they have kids, and the struggle to buy nutritious, satisfying meals are a hardship without the $1.60 (a ridiculously minuscule stipend per day) that is allocated for an entire family. Next, family farms are becoming imperiled by the expansion of corporate farming and we need farming that can support families, not CEO's. Republicans beware! You are an endangered species. Blue wave a-comin'. Blue Tsunami!

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  • Barb
    04/12/2018
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    The farm bill should focus on the smaller farms, not the crop/animal factory farms.

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  • Wayne
    04/11/2018
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    Increase and expand SNAP without work requirements. Easily paid for by removing antiquated subsidies for agricultural conglomerates that do not need them. I would also like to see language about farming/animal standards and pesticide use.

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  • Clay
    04/11/2018
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    Please let us not take food from the hands of the hungry, and hand it’s dollar value to a mega farming conglomerate. Protect our farming families not large corporations. Thank you

    Like (15)
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  • Robert
    04/11/2018
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    Call this what it truly is, big agricultural welfare!!!

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  • Tooluser1
    04/11/2018
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    No more "omnibus" bills! If a measure can't pass on it's own it shouldn't pass.

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  • Daniel
    04/11/2018
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    What a critical time to contemplate a farm bill! It is critical, in my opinion, to strengthen and expand SNAP and other programs dealing with nutrition. Simultaneously, funding is needed to assist farms, particularly small family farms, to adopt regenerative agricultural practices. End consumers can and should be encouraged to consume a diet of fresh, nutritional, and locally grown produce. Resources need to be made readily available to help families grow their own food and/or work to assist communities organize community gardens. All these things, in my humble opinion, would result in a healthier population, living more content lives, and living on a comfortable planet.

    Like (7)
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  • CannabisSavedMe
    04/14/2018
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    Please legalize Cannabis! It is a super medicine and a super food! Please allow farmers and patients access to affordable medicine and the opportunity to cultivate this incredible herb.

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  • Jake.bennett34
    04/11/2018
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    Support our farmers. American farmers are and always have been some of the hardest working and most vital members of our society. This great nation is so abundant naturally we can produce and provide all we need and more. Regarding food stamps and welfare, why not implement work requirements? If you are able, why not work? Isn’t that the ide behind society? “He who does not work shall not eat.” A novel concept: provide incentives for folks on welfare to work part time (for rural communities) on the farms. This equates to indirect subsidies to support our farmers in a very hostile and difficult market, provides jobs and work experience, and helps people provide for themselves this instilling a sense of pride in themselves.

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  • Dave
    04/11/2018
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    Is the farm bill an entitlement or is the speaker house Paul Ryan life time 3/4 pay plus cost of living and healthcare for the rest of his life an entitlement. Sense he is retiring he should get the same as everyone else social Security and Medicare. Most likely corporations contributed stocks to his retirement! How are you doing with your entitlement? He said he has done his part, he really meant done the damage. It like a bunch of rats leaving a sink ship.

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  • AlexaB
    04/11/2018
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    Plant based diets would help our planet and our healthcare crisis. So the government should get their head out of big money agriculture’s ass and do their job to promote healthy living and sustainable living. Animal torture is so caveman 🤙🏼🤙🏼🤙🏼

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  • Mart
    04/11/2018
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    Why is there a “farm bill”? Government cronyism at its best. Food is more expensive for payers, thus more government to help those who cannot afford government prices. It causes surpluses in some crops, shortages in other. Some crops are produced with subsidies, then plowed under to keep prices high. Many recipients of “farm aid” don’t farm. Some are paid to not farm. Look at largest recipients. Small, family farms, the farm bills’ myth, receive little of the billions! You want a true farm bill, dismantle department of agriculture, end all tax benefits, and subsidies, all food stamps, and watch prices drop! Freedom in food means better quality, lower prices!

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  • MinnesotaMom
    04/12/2018
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    A word about conservation in the farm bill. Remember the dust bowl? The dirty thirties? The dust bowl was caused by poor farming practices. Farmers broke it, the government fixed it. People are more than capable of squandering a good thing out of greed.

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  • ProudAmerican
    04/13/2018
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    WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR SNAP!!! I was in the worst financial shape of my life when I was on SNAP. I was able to get a somewhat decent job and slowly but surely off of SNAP, which coincided with me becoming more and more financially stable. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD WORK FOR ABLE BODIED AMERICANS.

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  • Mary
    04/11/2018
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    Stop subsidizing unhealthy food and start subsidizing vegetables. Be very clear on food labeling. There needs to be trustworthy labeling on organic and non-GMO. Hydroponic is not organic. We need to keep country and place of origin labels. The people have a right to know where their food comes from. We also need to keep the nutrition labels on all packaging including menus. More transparency, not less.

    Like (2)
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