Regardless of whether you live in rural or suburban areas, or you’re producing the food versus only consuming it, the Farm Bill supports everyone. Our access to high-quality food, and the ability for low-income families to afford it, is reliant on the producers, the environment, and the financial market, which all happen to be reliant on the policies implemented in the Agricultural Act. Without the Farm Bill, or with decreased or increased funding on specific titles, everyone is affected. Our nation’s food supply is one of the safest in the world, not to mention one of the most affordable, and this is largely due to the programs enacted on the Farm Bill.
How does this piece of legislation involve everyone? Below are some of the ways this bill affects your life, even if you aren’t a farmer.
If you eat healthy, inexpensive, and safe food in an abundant quantity every year, the Farm Bill is for you. Risk management programs are implemented to ensure retail prices stay low and nutritional support programs, such as SNAP, are enacted to assist and provide food for low-income families who struggle to eat. Having the luxury of choosing foods you want your family to eat is possible under the efforts of the Farm Bill.
If you are a farm laborer, or beginning farmer, the Farm Bill is for you. The Miscellaneous title under the 2014 Act covered a wide variety of topics, and included farm labor safety and workforce development. Additionally, the bill aides in the creation of jobs and new markets, which in turn helps our economy. As a beginning or minority farmer, this small sliver of the bill involves support for your efforts to begin, and sustain, a farm as well.
If you are concerned with the continuous health of the environment and a planet that is sustainable, the Farm Bill is for you. Programs installed under the conservation title provide direction, support, and incentives for farmers to continue to be stewards of the land. Efforts have greatly improved over the years, creating a healthier planet while keeping farmers and ranchers in business and producing plenty of food for the growing population. The American Biofuels Industry is encouraged to continue research and development for renewable energy through the Farm Bill as well.
Discussions for funding of the 2018 Farm Bill will include these, and other titles, all of which will affect our nation. Efforts to continue to grow funding for each title depend on involvement in programs, lobbying efforts, and funding availability. Your involvement, whether directly or indirectly, is affected by the decisions to be made henceforth whether you believe so or not.
Markie Hageman is a senior, majoring in agribusiness, at Fort Hays State University. She is actively involved in her state Cattlemen’s Association, Young Farmers chapter, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Follow her series exploring various parts of the next Farm Bill.