• Science Friday, NY Times

What is the USDA Farm Bill

http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/campaigns/fbcampaign/what-is-the-farm-bill/


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.

The farm bill is a package of legislation passed roughly once every five years, which has a tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown. Covering programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, from beginning farmer training to support for sustainable farming practices, the farm bill sets the stage for our food and farm systems. As a leading advocate for family farmers and sustainable agriculture, it’s our job to make sure that this important bill is good for farmers, good for consumers, and good for the natural environment.

Every five years, the farm bill expires and is updated: proposed, debated, and passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President. (The current farm bill, The Agricultural Act of 2014, was signed into law on February 7th, 2014.)

The farm bill got its start in 1933 as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. Its three original goals –  to keep food prices fair for farmers and consumers, ensure an adequate food supply, and protect and sustain the country’s vital natural resources – responded to the economic and environmental crises of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Although the farm bill has changed in the last 70 years, its primary purposes are the same.

Our food and farming system confronts new challenges today, but through citizen and stakeholder action for a fair farm bill, we can ensure the vibrancy and productivity of our agriculture, economy, and communities for generations to come.

Farm Bill Basics

1. What does the farm bill cover? 2. How much does the farm bill cost? 3. Who in Congress writes the farm bill? 4. How does the farm bill process work?

1. What does the farm bill cover?

The farm bill’s sections are called titles.  The 2014 Farm Bill has twelve titles.

Here’s what they’re called (and what they cover):

Title 1: Commodities.  The Commodities Title covers price and income supports for the farmers who raise widely-produced and traded crops, like corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice – as well as dairy and sugar.Title 2: Conservation.  The Conservation Title covers programs that help farmers implement natural resource conservation efforts on working lands like pasture and cropland, land retirement programs, and easement programs.  The title also includes resource conservation requirements for participation in commodity and crop insurance programs and helps institutions and community organizations provide farmers with conservation technical assistance.Title 3: Trade.  The Trade Title covers food exports and international food aid programs.Title 4: Nutrition.  The Nutrition Title covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] – also known as food stamps – as well as a variety of smaller nutrition programs to help low-income Americans afford food for their families.Title 5: Credit.  The Credit Title covers federal loan programs designed to help farmers access the financial credit (via direct loans as well as loan guarantees and other tools) they need to grow and sustain their farming operations.Title 6: Rural Development.  The Rural Development Title covers programs that help foster rural economic growth through rural business and community development (including farm businesses), housing, and infrastructure improvement.Title 7: Research, Extension, and Related Matters.  The Research Title covers farming and food research, education, and extension programs designed to support innovation, from state university-affiliated research to vital training for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.Title 8: Forestry.  The Forestry Title covers forest-specific conservation, creating incentives and programs that help farmers and rural communities to be stewards of forest resources.Title 9:  Energy.  The Energy Title covers programs that encourage growing and processing crops for biofuel; help farmers, ranchers and business owners install renewable energy systems; and support research related to energy.Title 10: Specialty Crops & Horticulture.  The term “specialty crops” refers to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery crops, including organic produce.  This title covers farmers market and local food programs, funding for research and infrastructure specific to those “specialty crops”, and organic research and certification programs.Title 11: Crop Insurance.  The Crop Insurance Title provides premium subsidies to farmers and subsidies to the private crop insurance companies who provide federal crop insurance to farmers, as well as providing USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) with the authority to research, develop, and modify a variety of crop- and revenue-based insurance policies.Title 12: Miscellaneous.  The Miscellaneous Title brings together advocacy and outreach programs for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers; agricultural labor safety and workforce development; and livestock health.

2. How much does the farm bill cost?

The 2014 Farm Bill is projected to cost about $489 billion over the five years of the bill’s life, according to the USDA Economic Research Service using data from the Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimates for the Agricultural Act of 2014, January 2014.

While all of the farm bill funding numbers are projections, some are more firm projections than others.  The costs of the bill’s three major groups of entitlement programs – the commodity, crop insurance, and SNAP (food stamp) programs – depend on what happens in the commodity markets and the general economy over the coming five years. Therefore, actual costs could be higher or lower than the projections.

3. Who in Congress writes the farm bill?

Members of Congress who sit on the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hold the primary responsibility of drafting farm bills.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and ForestryThe House Committee on Agriculture See more: 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.

The farm bill is a package of legislation passed roughly once every five years, which has a tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown. Covering programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, from beginning farmer training to support for sustainable farming practices, the farm bill sets the stage for our food and farm systems. As a leading advocate for family farmers and sustainable agriculture, it’s our job to make sure that this important bill is good for farmers, good for consumers, and good for the natural environment.

Every five years, the farm bill expires and is updated: proposed, debated, and passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President. (The current farm bill, The Agricultural Act of 2014, was signed into law on February 7th, 2014.)

The farm bill got its start in 1933 as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. Its three original goals –  to keep food prices fair for farmers and consumers, ensure an adequate food supply, and protect and sustain the country’s vital natural resources – responded to the economic and environmental crises of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Although the farm bill has changed in the last 70 years, its primary purposes are the same.

Our food and farming system confronts new challenges today, but through citizen and stakeholder action for a fair farm bill, we can ensure the vibrancy and productivity of our agriculture, economy, and communities for generations to come.

Farm Bill Basics

1. What does the farm bill cover? 2. How much does the farm bill cost? 3. Who in Congress writes the farm bill? 4. How does the farm bill process work?

1. What does the farm bill cover?

The farm bill’s sections are called titles.  The 2014 Farm Bill has twelve titles.

Here’s what they’re called (and what they cover):

Title 1: Commodities.  The Commodities Title covers price and income supports for the farmers who raise widely-produced and traded crops, like corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice – as well as dairy and sugar.Title 2: Conservation.  The Conservation Title covers programs that help farmers implement natural resource conservation efforts on working lands like pasture and cropland, land retirement programs, and easement programs.  The title also includes resource conservation requirements for participation in commodity and crop insurance programs and helps institutions and community organizations provide farmers with conservation technical assistance.Title 3: Trade.  The Trade Title covers food exports and international food aid programs.Title 4: Nutrition.  The Nutrition Title covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] – also known as food stamps – as well as a variety of smaller nutrition programs to help low-income Americans afford food for their families.Title 5: Credit.  The Credit Title covers federal loan programs designed to help farmers access the financial credit (via direct loans as well as loan guarantees and other tools) they need to grow and sustain their farming operations.Title 6: Rural Development.  The Rural Development Title covers programs that help foster rural economic growth through rural business and community development (including farm businesses), housing, and infrastructure improvement.Title 7: Research, Extension, and Related Matters.  The Research Title covers farming and food research, education, and extension programs designed to support innovation, from state university-affiliated research to vital training for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.Title 8: Forestry.  The Forestry Title covers forest-specific conservation, creating incentives and programs that help farmers and rural communities to be stewards of forest resources.Title 9:  Energy.  The Energy Title covers programs that encourage growing and processing crops for biofuel; help farmers, ranchers and business owners install renewable energy systems; and support research related to energy.Title 10: Specialty Crops & Horticulture.  The term “specialty crops” refers to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery crops, including organic produce.  This title covers farmers market and local food programs, funding for research and infrastructure specific to those “specialty crops”, and organic research and certification programs.Title 11: Crop Insurance.  The Crop Insurance Title provides premium subsidies to farmers and subsidies to the private crop insurance companies who provide federal crop insurance to farmers, as well as providing USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) with the authority to research, develop, and modify a variety of crop- and revenue-based insurance policies.Title 12: Miscellaneous.  The Miscellaneous Title brings together advocacy and outreach programs for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers; agricultural labor safety and workforce development; and livestock health.

2. How much does the farm bill cost?

The 2014 Farm Bill is projected to cost about $489 billion over the five years of the bill’s life, according to the USDA Economic Research Service using data from the Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimates for the Agricultural Act of 2014, January 2014.

While all of the farm bill funding numbers are projections, some are more firm projections than others.  The costs of the bill’s three major groups of entitlement programs – the commodity, crop insurance, and SNAP (food stamp) programs – depend on what happens in the commodity markets and the general economy over the coming five years. Therefore, actual costs could be higher or lower than the projections.

3. Who in Congress writes the farm bill?

Members of Congress who sit on the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hold the primary responsibility of drafting farm bills.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and ForestryThe House Committee on Agriculture

Read More: http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/campaigns/fbcampaign/what-is-the-farm-bill/

https://www.usda.gov


The USDA Farm bill expires in 2018 and will be revamped and voted on by Congress in late 2018 or early 2019. https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2018-farm-bill-and-legislative-principles.pdf

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