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Recent posts by Anna Johnson

Farm bill is on the ballot this election

Results of this week’s election will have significant implications for the future of rural America. Voters should not forget the farm bill is on the ballot.

A strong farm bill is crucial for rural communities. It preserves our nation’s soil and water, assists the next generation of agricultural producers, and supports small businesses on main street. Unfortunately, Congress allowed the farm bill to expire on Sept. 30, 2018.

Lawmakers have stalled deliberations for a new bill for two major reasons.

Farm bill expires on Sept. 30, what’s next?

The 2014 farm bill expires on Sept. 30, 2018. What happens if Congress does not pass a new farm bill in time?

Congress can either vote to extend the 2014 farm bill, or they can allow the farm bill to lapse.

In 2013, Congress passed an extension. It was not ideal. Members failed to include any funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and other small but mighty programs in the extension. These programs closed their doors until the 2014 farm bill was passed.

Senate farm bill, unpacked

The Senate passed its version of the farm bill last week, by a vote of 86 to 11. The bill included a very important improvement with the inclusion of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) proposals to make farm program payments fairer and close loopholes in the definition of “actively engaged in farming.” Here, we explain where we are with the farm bill and what it means for rural America.

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