According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), “The farm bill connects the food on our plates, the farmers and ranchers who produce that food, and the natural resources – our soil, air and water – that make growing food possible. [It can have a] tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown. This in turn affects the environment, local economies, and public health. These are some pretty good reasons to become involved in advocating for a farm bill that supports health and sustainability!”
Last week the House Agriculture Committee voted its 2018 Farm Bill out of Committee and onto the floor for debate. Those who’ve been following the process say this draft needs a lot of work before a final vote. The NASC shared this top ten list of topics that need to be addressed including protection for family farms, funding and authority for the Conservation Stewardship Program (the USDA’s largest conservation program providing assistance to farmers and ranchers), and support for local food programs, for rural community development, and for beginning farmers and ranchers.
Likewise the National Young Farmer’s Coalition (NYFC) is working for a farm bill that promotes our national security by ensuring that conservation programs stay strong, and that it enhances land access opportunities and support for new and beginning farmers so we have the food we need.
The farm bill is a complex piece of legislation and though committee members and their staffs spent time going around the country trying to get input on what it should look like, they may not have heard the messages that you’d like to be sure they have. If you’d like to know more about what’s in the bill, and what non-profit, nonpartisan organizations trying to represent your interests think should be done, both the NSAC and the NYFC have good information to share. And if you’d like to participate in making the farm bill something that works for you and your community, here are some options:
Join the National Young Farmers Coalition’s “Team Farm Bill” by clicking here, or by texting “FARM” to 40649. You’ll become part of their rapid response and receive breaking news and action alerts, all with a goal of creating a farm bill for the next generation.
Sign up for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Action Alerts at their home page. Just fill in your information in the “STAY CONNECTED” box. You’ll get information specific to your state/region, and information on how to contact your elected representatives.
Sharing your informed opinion is a great way to participate in keeping your community productive and profitable. We hope this information helps with that.
Thanks for reading!
Kathy and Rachel