Federal politics is not always the easiest thing to follow. Before we even fully understand the contents of a bill, it is being passed by the house and senate. It can make it frustrating and challenging to know what is changing and if it will help or hurt our lifestyle. When it comes to the farm bill, this is how many felt. The name alone told us that it was about farming, which got a lot of people’s attention. But the question was, is it going to benefit or harm the farmers and consumers affected?
The Farm Bill is not a one-time and done type of bill. It has a shelf life of around five years. The first-ever Farm Bill was passed in the 1930s under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Every five years, an updated plan needs to be submitted and passed. The last one was enacted into law at the end of 2018. This means that we will have a new Farm Bill to be devoured in a little over a year. This also allows us to voice concerns and hopefully correct anything that is not working for farmers and consumers.
The Farm Bill covers a wide range of topics that affect those growing and selling our food and everyone that consumes it. Commodities in one title that gives farmers of certain products extra support. Conservation is another title that is important to many. It provides support to farmers to help with conservation efforts to ensure that they can continue to grow the crops that we need to survive. We have insurance for homes and cars. Why not on your livelihood? The Farm Bill has a title for Crop Insurance. Nutrition is a title many care about. Nutrition Assistance Programs fall under this category that benefits many low-income communities and families. This is just the tip of the topics that are covered in the Farm Bill. Other titles include Credit, Energy, Horticulture, Forestry, Rural Development, and Research.
While it seems that the Farm Bill has everything covered, a handful of topics do not fall under its umbrella. Some Nutrition Programs like SNAP are outlined, but the more popular WIC Program is not covered in the Farm Bill. The Clean Air and Water rights are also not addressed. Neither is the irrigation or public land grazing right dictated in this bill. Tax, one of the issues we all must decipher, is also left off the Farm Bill. Another huge topic that affects farmers is worker rights and protections. The guidelines that need to be followed are not decided within the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill presented most recently is a benefit to the farmers. They would be free to sell to anyone they wish to. They can find those willing to pay the most and sell to them. This freedom gives them the flexibility that they didn’t fully have before.
Read up on the next version.