This broad and complex piece of legislation comes up for renewal every five years and is due to expire September 2012. The Farm Bill is a nickname for the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act and covers much more than the name implies. It allocates federal funds for conventional, organic, and industrial farming, land conservation, renewable energy, rural economic development, and nutritional assistance programs.
It is responsible for large-scale commodity-farming subsidies and crop insurance, but also includes programs that affect small-scale, sustainable farmers and organic research. The majority of the bill funds the $70 billion-a-year food stamp program, with very little allotted for organic agriculture.
The Farm Bill is not easy to understand given the various interest groups with budgets at stake, the intricacies of politics, and the complex nature of the bill. In their download, ” Farm Bill 101, ” American Farmland Trust outlines the issues covered in the bill, along with how the legislation impacts farmers of all sizes.
Learn more about the Farm Bill budget cuts and how they will affect the future of organic farming.