Community Philosphy Blog and Library

HOMEGROWN Life: We Have a Farm Bill. Finally.

 

HOMEGROWN-life-bryce-logo-150x150The Senate passed a farm bill on Tuesday that President Obama is expected to sign at the end of the week. Sure, it’s a couple of years late. And it doesn’t make sweeping changes to the way farm programs work. It doesn’t prioritize and fund innovation through local food system development and conservation to the degree that many of us would prefer. It doesn’t do much to tackle some of the biggest issues faced by our society today, problems like obesity and climate change. It’s just not that great of a legislative accomplishment.

The cynic in me wants to say, “Well, what do you expect? It’s Washington, after all. We’re lucky they even got something passed.”

And there’s a lot of reality to that way of thinking. The farm bill could be much worse. They could have cut the nutrition funding for low-income and struggling families by $40 billion, like the House of Representatives voted to do a few months back. They could have dismantled country-of-origin labeling implementation for food products. They could have cut conservation programs even more. They could have eliminated meaningful programs that fund entrepreneurship, growth of cooperatives, and rural community infrastructure.

I know that politics is the art of the possible. I know that change and reform are both rare and difficult to achieve.

But still, it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to know that this is the best we can do for the crucial piece of policy and funding that will govern farm and nutrition programs for the next five years. It’s frustrating to understand that so many “leaders” feel like low-income families shouldn’t get a helping hand when they’re struggling to put food on their tables.

I do want to say that there is active and thriving grassroots movement out there that’s trying to improve things with respect to federal farm and food policy. We’ve even got some national and Beltway cred. There’s Farm Aid, the National Family Farm Coalition, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Rural Coalition. These organizations and others do the hard work of laying out a very different vision for federal farm programs.

In the political climate we’re in right now, I’d urge you all to say thank you to these groups for making sure the farm bill did have as many good things in it as it does.

I’d also urge you to stay informed and active. These issues are not going away. Maybe we can get to work and broaden our movement, gearing up for another farm bill a few years down the road. If we’re going to get something meaningful, we’ve got a lot of work to do in the meantime.

HOMEGROWN-life-Bryce-OatesBryce Oates is a farmer, father, writer, and conservationist in West Missouri. He lives and works on his family’s multigenerational farm, tending cattle, sheep, goats, and organic vegetables. His goals in life are simple: to wake up before the sun, catch a couple of fish, turn the compost pile, dig potatoes, and sit by the fire in the evening, watching the fireflies mimic the stars.

5 Responses to “HOMEGROWN Life: We Have a Farm Bill. Finally.”

  1. Dolores Flanagan Says:

    Thanks for such a reasonable response to the Farm Bill. I’m seeing a lot of very polarized commentary and am happy to find yours this morning.
    The work that the Farmer Veteran Coalition (farmvetco.org) has done (with the help of Farm Aid) to get provisions in the Farm Bill that aid the transition of veterans into farming deserves recognition, it’s a huge achievement that is being overlooked in all the braying about how bad the farm bill is.

  2. You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the internet.
    I am going to highly recommend this site!

  3. Hi there, yup this post is genuinely pleasant and I have
    learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.

  4. I think this is one of the most vvital information for me.
    And i am glad reading our article. But wwnna remark
    on feww general things, The siye style is great,
    the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

    Feell free to visit my site acne remedies guide

  5. They know exactly where your anxiety itself is a topic that
    is rich in nutrients. It may premature ejaculation not
    initially sounds appealing if you just need to. The moment you are willing to take it as herbal remedies
    are effective in treatingpremature ejaculation.

Leave a Reply

*