With the 2008 Farm Bill set to expire at the end of September of this year, the need for a renewed commitment to farm policy needs to take place now.
So why is this important to you? Why should you care? The Farm Bill sets America on a path to ensure a sustainable, healthy and affordable food supply for not only the United States, but for many countries around the world.
Thanks to the Farm Bill, Americans spend only around 10% of their disposable income on food, one of the lowest percentages in the world. But, when most folks hear talk of the Farm Bill, they immediately think farmer subsidies, while in all actuality most of the funding goes towards nutrition assistance programs.
In fact, over 84% of Farm Bill funding goes towards nutrition programs which help feed over 40 million people in need across the United States. According to a Wall Street Journal article, 1 in 7 people are on food stamps. Wouldn’t you agree that feeding America’s less fortunate is pretty important?
Consumers also need to understand that only a very small percentage of funding goes to the farm program, which ensures a healthy and stable food supply. That percentage will continue to shrink as farmers recognize the need to take their share of cuts to ease the pain of our nation’s looming federal deficit. The Senate Ag Committee’s version of the Farm Bill does exactly that by trimming a whopping $23 billion from the federal budget over the next 10 years, something that no other committee in Washington has done.
The Farm Bill is also a jobs bill. Over 16 million Americans work in agriculture and this legislation provides the certainty needed for farmers and ag-related businesses, who have been a true bright spot in the economy, to continue meeting the growing demands of our hungry world.
Another important, yet small part of the farm bill would be the money that goes towards environmental conservation. These programs protect our water and sensitive lands and are home to various species of plants, wildlife and aquaculture.
So why do we need the Farm Bill Now? For food, for jobs, for exports, for conservation, for renewable energy, for America. As the Senate starts debating the Farm Bill, let your senators and representatives know that America needs a Farm Bill Now! (If you’re on twitter, use the hashtag: #FarmBillNow)