Why You Should Care About the Farm Bill
Written by Robyn O’Brien
When people first started talking to me about the Farm Bill, I honestly thought they were just a bunch of foodie-types that had too much time on their hands. I mean, really, the Farm Bill?
But when I humbly learned that the Farm Bill impacts everything that we eat, I realized that this piece of legislation matters. Big time.
The Farm Bill matters if you care at all about what you feed your family, how much that food costs, whether or not clean and safe food is available to all Americans and not just those in certain zip codes, and even things like how clean your drinking water is.
Its three most important sections deal with:
- Support programs for farmers who grow grains.
- Provide money and technical help to farmers to protect soil, water and wildlife.
- Fund the all-important nutrition and feeding programs for low-income Americans, especially women, children and infants.
It’s a huge piece of legislation that drives federal spending and policies on agriculture, nutrition and conservation programs, and it’s usually debated and passed every five years. It was due to come up for renewal in 2012, but industrial agriculture interests and their powerful allies in Congress are trying to circumvent open debate and get the bill they want passed as part of the “Super Committee” plan for cutting the federal deficit.
And right now, lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture committees are trying to write a new five-year farm bill through the supercommittee process. In other words, this enormously important piece of legislation that impacts, food, hunger and nutrition policy for 310 million Americans for the next five years is being decided upon by four Congressmen.
As we learned with Big Tobacco, industry has a powerful way of getting what they want for as long as they want as long as the public is kept in the dark. But unlike smoking, eating is not optional. And this piece of legislation affects not only our food, but also our hunger and nutrition policies and our environment and health.
With the President’s Cancer Panel report addressing the role that agricultural chemicals play in the rates of diseases like cancer, it’s no wonder that agricultural interests want to keep this information locked up behind closed doors . But with 41% of Americans expected to get cancer in their lifetimes, and the Centers for Disease Control now stating that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15, lock-outs simply aren’t an option.
This is our food supply and these are our taxpayer dollars hard at work. We have a right to know how these dollars are being allocated, because clean and safe food is a human right that should be afforded to all Americans, not just those making the rules.
To learn more about the Farm Bill, please click here
To take action and let Congress know how much you care about this issue, please click here