Farm Bill News

Food, Farms, Jobs and Economic Growth

Recently, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The sponsors worked diligently to write commonsense legislation that addresses the infrastructure challenges and informational barriers that family farmers and ranchers face in their efforts to develop local and regional food systems.

Responsible Approach Needed for Subsidized Crop Insurance

Federally subsidized crop insurance has become the primary farm program. It needs some changes to be good for family farms and conservation. It must also be fiscally responsible to leave room in the federal budget for other farm and small-town priorities.

Federal crop insurance’s magnitude was underscored by a Farm Credit Services study. It showed that $4.5 billion in 2012 crop insurance indemnities to farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming saved about 21,000 jobs. Those payments kept farm income at the second highest level ever in spite of record drought.

Farmer Fly-In Offers Congressional Leaders Input on Farm Bill

Farmers and rural leaders headed to Washington, DC in March to lobby on the Farm Bill. Congress was finalizing its spending bills, so it was a good time get their ear.

William Powers, a farmer and executive director of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, urged legislators to restore funding in critical programs that invest in beginning farmers and ranchers.

Farm Bill Progress Still Stalled in Washington

Even though the Farm Bill was extended by the fiscal cliff legislation that passed in January, Congress is still making crucial farm and rural policy choices. Spending decisions in the appropriations and budget processes strike at the heart of the matter… whether we cut Farm Bill spending in ways that do the least damage or perhaps even help rural America, or slash investments in the future of rural people and rural places.
 

Spring and Conservation: Both in Season Now

Farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which rewards producers for conservation practices on working lands, thanks to passage of legislation that replaces funding for the 2013 CSP that was accidently cut off in the government spending bill that passed last October.

USDA can now proceed with enrolling just over 11 million acres of farm and ranch land in the program this year, bringing the program to a grand total of 62 million acres by year’s end.

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