A Strong Farm Bill Feeds Us All: Farm Bill Basics

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The Farm Bill re-authorization process has officially kicked off in Congress. Now is a good time to get caught up! This is the first in a 4-part blog series in which we will highlight some of the programs that are important to our regional food system and how they should be treated in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is a huge piece of federal legislation that touches nearly every part of our food system.

The Farm Bill is authorized by congress every few years. Much the same way a book has chapters, the Farm Bill has “titles.” The 2014 Farm Bill is divided into 12 titles. Funding is not divided evenly among these titles as you can see in this pie chart below.

The current 2014 Farm Bill will expire on September 30, 2018.

If a new Farm Bill isn’t passed by this date, the programs with discretionary funding will become unfunded. This includes many programs important to our region, such as those impacting sustainable research grants to farmers and ranchers. American families and farmers struggling to make ends meet can’t afford a delay in re-authorizing the Farm Bill.  

The Farm Bill is about much more than just farms.

Whether you’re a grocer concerned with food affordability, an angler who needs clean water for trout and bass, or an eater who wants food they can trust, everyone has a stake in the Farm Bill.

Our Priorities

Food connects us. So should food policy. A Farm Bill that’s good for local farmers also helps local consumers and businesses. Likewise, nutrition programs increase farm and grocery sales.

The Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition believes the 2018 Farm Bill should support thriving communities by:

  • putting healthy food within reach
  • helping farmers defend our resources
  • investing in local food, strengthening local economies
  • funding research and programming for resilient, diverse farming

It’s Time to Speak Out!

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee recently approved a draft Farm Bill that contains devastating attacks on SNAP, makes further cuts to conservation and ignore crucial research and extension programs.

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to begin marking up their version of the Farm Bill in the next few weeks. We need everyone to remind U.S. Senators that a strong Farm Bill feeds us all.

Kansas and Missouri legislators include key Farm Bill decision makers, such as Senator Pat Roberts (Kansas) who is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Now more than ever, it’s important decision makers hear from you about what matters to our community.

Here’s how:

  • Sign our letter to Senator Pat Roberts and other legislators asking them to champion these Farm Bill priorities. Don’t forget to share your story with them about why they matters to you.
  • Help us collect signatures and stories at events (Contact Mamiko Vuillemin)
  • Contact your US Senators and Representatives and attend district office meetings. Let them know that you care about local farms and local economy. 
  • Share with your networks about how the Farm Bill impacts our community. Whether it’s people you personally know or a membership list, spreading the word is vital.
  • Post on Social Media. Tag your elected officials and share your #2018farmbill priorities. 
  • Make a donation. Your gifts will help us expand the reach of our advocacy efforts.

 

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