Our View: While not perfect, Farm Bill is a step in the right direction
Sen. Stabenow deserves recognition for her work
Farm Bill | February 6, 2014 | By Diane Conners
Farm Bill Opinions
Be sure to check out these links for more information and opinion on the passage of the Farm Bill.
► National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's 2014 Farm Bill Drill Down: NSAC is doing a seven-part series here on our blog that delves into the details of the bill for sustainable food and farming systems.
► Sen. Stabenow Press Release: "The bill represents rare bipartisan agreement on a major jobs bill, legislation that will help grow Michigan's agriculture economy, the state's second-largest industry."
- Mark Coe: Having had the oppertunity to present at a local school with Meghan and Leanna, supporting the work Food Corps does is a wonderful thing. They provide a learning oppertunity to our children in agricu...
- Linda Hutchinson: Great! Having been raised on a farm, near Arcadia, I wish my dad who was a Farmer's Market regular in the 60's, 70's and 80's, was here to be involved in the "farm to table" and "local food" initiati...
- Dale Scheiern: It is easy to store and enjoy all winter long too!! Take 1 qt. freezer bags, fill to the point they will lay fairly flat ( not rounded) so they stack easily in the freezer. Local fruit all winter lo...
- Sharron May, The May Farm: You are correct if you are referring to industrial monocultures of animal or plant agriculture which are extractive, organic or not. Fortunately there are small farms pioneering more regenerative prac...
- LillyM: I've been fortunate enough to meet and work with Lianna and hope to meet Meghan. Every FoodCorps volunteer I have met over the years has been incredible. A phenomenal organization with dedicated and...
Sen. Debbie Stabenow worked tirelessly to do something rare in this Congress—actually get some work done by passing a bipartisan piece of legislation with the Farm Bill. One disappointing part of this entire, excruciatingly dragged out process is that the bills passed more than a year ago by the full Senate and the House agriculture committee contained more progressive measures than the one that is now headed for President Obama's signature in East Lansing on Friday.
Astonishingly, the House leadership decided not to bring its own agriculture committee bill up for a vote at that time, leaving American farmers in limbo for yet another year.
While there are measures we wish would have made it to the final bill that has just been passed, we're pleased that it includes renewal of funding for programs that only started to see serious funding in the 2008 Farm Bill—renewable energy, beginning farmers, organic farming, local food economies, and support for farmers who grow the food we really need to eat, fruit and vegetables. The bill also includes a new farm to school pilot program to explore fruit and vegetable purchasing alternatives in eight states.
While many members of the House wanted to separate SNAP spending (food stamps) from the Farm Bill, it is instead preserved there. And the links between what people need for nourishment and what farmers grow and can make a living at growing is strengthened by the inclusion of funding for programs like Double Up Food Bucks, which in Michigan is doubling the money of SNAP recipients when they spend their food assistance at farmers markets.
While still a small slice of the Farm Bill spending, it is a positive direction, and those who pitched in by writing letters or speaking out in some way should know they made a difference and that we have something to build on.
When President Obama visits Michigan on Friday to sign the Farm Bill, we will be focused on that progress forward, and on Sen. Stabenow's deserved recognition for solidifying a more expansive reflection of agriculture in our country.
1141 days ago, 8:19am | by Mike Davis | Report Comment
Good article (as always), Diane. We have a long way to go....
1141 days ago, 11:18am | by Tom Traverse | Report Comment
Glad to see that these are still included in Farm Bill - renewable energy, beginning farmers, organic farming, local food economies, and support for farmers who grow the food we really need to eat, fruit and vegetables. The bill also includes a new farm to school pilot program to explore fruit and vegetable purchasing alternatives in eight states.
1136 days ago, 10:56am | by Sue Lannin | Report Comment
Thanks for the update on the new Farm Bill. I'm glad to hear that local & regional food systems, beginning farmers, organic agriculture, specialty crops & research are funded. However, we should all be concerned that for the first time since the 1980's funds for conservation programs were not increased, but cut significantly.