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More Ideas From the Finance Committee

Earlier today we wrote about finding money for the farm bill. Lo and behold, at Congressional Quarterly, there's an update regarding Finance Committee funding sources for the farm bill. Assuming that it is all true (and we have no reason to think otherwise), some thoughts on the various funding details:

Tick-Tock

As I mentioned earlier today, the other big issue facing the farm bill is timing. The Senate is stuck because of two things: They’re waiting for the money (see the earlier post) and there are some serious disagreements among the Agriculture Committee members. Those disagreements appear to primarily exist between Chairman Tom Harkin and Senator Conrad, but no doubt there are other Senators involved as well.

Development Matters – An Invitation

With your help we have worked tirelessly for over two years to secure farm bill victories for all of rural America – capping unlimited farm payments to the nation’s largest farms, providing family farm and ranch livestock producers access to a competitive marketplace, and investment in conservation and rural development based on proven strategies to revitalize rural communities.

We need your help, now, as we enter the final turn of the farm bill battle. We have ambitious goals for the coming year, $150,000 raised from individuals just like you. And we must raise every dollar we can in the next few months to finish the work we are doing.

What Would It Look Like If Rural Mattered?

The development of local foods systems across the country should be applauded. Diverse economic opportunities for family farmers and ranchers that supply local food systems are worth pursuing. Providing high quality food with some character to our urban cousins also has merit. “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaigns and other local food initiatives also create economic opportunities for local merchants and restaurants.

However, I should be able to buy actual food from actual farmers from somewhere near where I live. I went to the grocery store here in Lyons the other day. The folks there are nice, the prices are not too bad, and there is more selection than one might expect.

Confronting Five Fundamental Fallacies of Farm and Rural Policy

The farm bill is entering a critical phase, with heightened risk of falling prey to the five fundamental fallacies of farm and rural policy. To pass legislation that renews hope and opportunity in rural America, we must confront those fallacies.

Fallacy #1: The best farm bill provides the most money for farm programs, irrespective of other priorities.

Family farmers would be better off with modest, well targeted payments than with bigger payments and no limits. We need farm programs, but we also need to invest in the future of our communities through small business development, beginning farmer programs, and value added agriculture initiatives.

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