Weekly Farm Bill Round Up! 7/23-7/28

Update: Congress has still not passed the new farm bill, and it’s becoming a huge problem for all. The responses to these two questions will determine whether or not it even passes this year; who should pay to reduce the nation’s huge $1.2 trillion deficit? And, what is the government’s obligation to help people in need? And while both questions don’t directly have anything to do with the farm bill or agriculture, the potential changes and passage of the farm bill could be a solution for both [Oregon Live].

Even more unfortunate news…

A provision, which the agriculture committee approved, but has yet to go to the full House — would allow farmers to plant and grow GMO crops before they’ve been deemed safe. Or, more accurately, if it passes, farmers will be able to plant these crops while legal battles ensue over their safety.

Not okay with this provision and want your voice heard? Stop the Monsanto Protection Act here [Food Democracy Now].

While there has been much uproar about the House’s proposed cuts in food stamps [The Atlantic] – nearly $16 billion over five year! – There are a few key provisions that are worth acknowledging:

  • It will establish “nutrition incentive” programs to make local fresh fruit and vegetables more affordable for families pummeled by the recession.
  • It will expand the Farmers Market Promotion Program, which helps local and regional food businesses give small farmers a way to market healthy local produce to school children.
  • It will also increase funding for specialty crop block grants-meaning specialty crops, such as fruits and vegetable, will receive more federal support!

Still, with the farm bill soon expiring on September 30th and congress’ month-long recess beginning August 3rd, there is not much time left for government to make a final decision and pass the new bill. House Republican leaders are proposing to not call up the new five-year plan before the current farm bill expires. It could be delayed all the way until November, after elections. This news is shocking and could be a historical breaking point, as it would be the first House farm bill to be kept off the floor while its deadline passes. And although the new farm bill doesn’t exactly reflect every goal of sustainable food advocates (actually most are not at all happy with it!), it would still create more chaos with no passage at all [Grist].

Take action: Sign the Hazon petition for sustainable food systems.

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