Every five years, Congress writes a legislative package that, among other things, sets national policy for food, conservation and energy.
In 2008, Congress entitled this package – wait for it – the “Food, Conservation and Energy Act.”
You have likely heard of this legislation, although not by that title. This is generically known as the “Farm Bill.” Early on in my experience of working for an agricultural organization, I mentioned to my boss that I was not familiar with the Farm Bill… whereupon he handed over a book the size of War and Peace and said “Here’s the legislation. Read it cover to cover.”
Needless to say, War and Peace was an easier read.
However, since it touches everyone who eats, sells, buys or grows food… people need to be familiar with it. Included in the Farm Bill are programs meant to help with crop production, rural development, energy, conservation, international food aid and the SNAP food-assistance program, formerly known as food stamps.
The bill is organized by “Title.” The 2008 Farm Bill had 15 titles covering a variety of programs. New titles are added as new issues become crucial to the food and farm economy. That bill expires in September of this year.
Congress has already begun work on crafting a new Farm Bill. It won’t be an easy task with the economic and political climate the way it is right now.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up its version of the 2012 Farm Bill on Thursday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. We at AVMA GRD encourage everyone to take a moment and read up on the Farm Bill and watch the proceedings. The mark up will be broadcast live, and the committee will be providing updated information on the website during the proceedings.
It’s important for everyone to learn more about the Farm Bill because it affects all of us, every single day.