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Why Should Young People Care About The Farm Bill?

Posted by Rachael Dubinsky and Rebecca Frank, Office of Communications in Conservation USDA Results Food and Nutrition Rural Research and Science
Feb 21, 2017

As young people that grew up in urban areas, it’s easy to wonder why we, or our peers, should care about the Farm Bill. The truth of the matter is, the Farm Bill affects more than just farmers.

As Congress works to pass a new Farm Bill before the end of the year, it’s crucial to make our voices heard on this important topic.

From the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere.

Without a new Farm Bill, universities will lose funding for research on important topics like nutrition, food safety, resource conservation and pest management, to name a few. The next generation of farmers and ranchers will lose access to critical programs, putting the future of rural America and our booming exports at serious risk. Funding to programs ensuring greater food security in both the United States and abroad are in danger of drying up.

Did you know that Farm Bill programs help those affected by natural disasters? The Farm Bill enables all Americans, from producers to consumers, to enjoy stable food prices at the grocery store, even after disasters like the 2012 drought and Superstorm Sandy.

Do you like to explore the great outdoors? Without a new farm bill, USDA agencies will be unable to enroll new acres in critical conservation and wildlife habitat programs. This will stunt the ability of local communities to support recreation and sporting, hindering the growth of local economies.

These are just a few of the many reasons why Farm Bill is important to us.

But what about you?

Tweet at @USDA with the hashtag #MyFarmBill and let us know what’s at stake for you without the 2012 Food, Farm and Jobs bill. Join the conversation and help give a voice to the next generation of American agriculture.

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Lynn Laws
Dec 07, 2012

I would like to see insurance and other programs that are designed to protect individual farmer investments prorated based on the efforts they make in conserving our soil and water.

We also need to level the playing field for all farmers--farmers who raise commodity crops should not be the only ones for whom we provide crop insurance or other federal program benefits.

Dec 07, 2012

Farmers should be considered endangered species---family farms need the crop and livestock protection for disaster years and for stability of our nation's food supply.

Chris Marsh
Dec 07, 2012

I heard that without Federal subsidies the cost of a pound of beef would be astronomical. I guess it takes a lot of money to feed and water a cow/steer. Nevertheless, if we have to make cuts for the fiscal cliff, someone is going to hurt. It is way too easy for some conservative who has never been on a farm to say, cut farm aid.

Cyndie Katz
Dec 08, 2012

I'm worried about farmland being bought up by "investors." I know that's happening in Iowa, for example. How is that going to effect future food prices? And lately I've also heard about a phosphorus shortage on the horizon due to the careless way we've been treating our soil. How will the farm bill start to address that?

Clint Smith
Dec 09, 2012

I think part of the problem lies in the name "farm bill". Too many people think it is just something that helps or affects "farmers". With a good portion of society being 5 generations removed from the farm they don't understand the importance and implications of the bill. Just like the FFA changing it's name from the Future Farmers of America to the National FFA Organization because it more to it than just "farming". I think the bill should be food safety and security bill (or something like that).

Angles Green
Dec 11, 2012

MONSANTO--- BUYING GOVERMENT AGAIN-----The company also manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine somatotropin.These companies give money to congress menand woman and expect laws that favor their interest not the people. This bill is all boought and paid for and in no way takes into account what the planet or this country needs in good pure food. chemical food and Campaign money to fat cats is not the answer. NO WAY!!

Dec 11, 2012

Once I have access to the full text of the "Farm Bill," then and only then will I be capable of forming any type of conclusions or opinions...

Dec 11, 2012

You wont have a full text until after congress and the house have already decided what goes in and what goes out. Your better off forming an opinion based on the issues that need to be addressed. Like what Angles is talking about. If we wait till after the deliberation process to voice our opposition to cooperatization and power consolidation of our food system then we miss the chance to help shape the bill while its being built. Do you think Monsanto has lobbyists wait till after the bill is written up? Take the time to look at the 2008 bill and tell me that you dont see a better way. Thats all it takes Vince.

Dec 12, 2012

If we want to tackle obeseity in the U.S. and some of our economic problems in this country, we need a farm bill that reflects those values. The growing of local food and preparing of healthy food and overall nutrition should be more of a focus rather than providing subsidies to companies that create food ingredients that provide cheap processed food to the masses. Growing quality food sustainability that maintains soil health as well as the long term health of the ecosystem is crucial.

Kate Brittenham
Dec 14, 2012

The problem is that much of the negotiations on the content of the Farm Bill (what goes in, what comes out, what is given funding, what funding is cut) is left up to a select few, which Holden touched upon. The average citizen cannot get individual his or her voice heard because it is not something that the average person can vote on. It is left instead in the higher reaches of government where the only few who have the power to impact the content of the bill and have their interests prioritized are either politicians, lobbyists, and corporations.

Kate Brittenham
Dec 14, 2012

I would like to make a grammatical correction to my comment: the only few who have the power to impact the content of the bill and have their interests prioritized are either politicians, lobbyists, and/or corporations.

Dec 15, 2012

We as tax payers send people to Washington to a job,We should of had a farm bill months ago but instead here we are going into a new crop year and a drought with nothing as a saftey net . I dont believe that any politician would go to D.C not knowing if there health insurance or there income was in question of debate. Also I believe we need to seperate Food Stamps and School lunches from the Farm Bill.

Tom Grant
Dec 15, 2012

Less is more. Before you let your politico-social-emotional-feel good thoughts let yourself get carried away in endorsing this kind of social engineering legislation consider the following: disinterested parties are writting the legislation (disinterested means they don't know much about what they are writting, having no real-world experience - just bureaucrats); it'll be managed by limited knowledge administrators who are just doing their job, legal enforcement; and enforced by officers who are just doign their job, regardless of the moral, economic, environmental and basic human life impact. Don't believe me? Remember the organic, whole, non-processed milk farmers who are being targeted, have their livelihood destroyed and then jailed for endangering our health with wholesome healthy milk!!! Think, think, think. Less regulation is more, more for all of us to work out locally, without big brother.

Eleanor Griffin
Dec 16, 2012

The youth group at my church is hoping to launch a mobile soup truck, servicing the homeless and those with food insecurity, which will travel around to the less densely populated areas of the Mystic Valley Region of the Boston suburbs. We are planning on looking to local farmers for the ingrediants to prepare the soup. While the Farm Bill may seem removed from the goals of our project, I believe it does support the ultimate goal of increasing food security for all.

Brad Wilson
Sep 04, 2013

It's a nice PR piece supporting the dominant status quo. Social critics are much more accurate, with deeper views. While a farm bill is better than no farm bill, most of the fine goals listed above have been reversed to favor exploitative interests at the expense of the rest of us, while the PR that's needed, (ie. exposing the myth of subsidies) is missing. See my longer response, "Deconstructing USDA Spin on the Farm Bill."