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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Why is it urgently important to pass a Farm Bill?

by Margaret Krome

We’re starting to hear mewings from Congress that, once again, they can’t seem to pass a Farm Bill by the deadline they set four-plus years ago. I know how hard deadlines are to meet, but really, that’s a lot of time to get it right!

Why does it matter? Because we can’t afford to have a replay of what happened six years ago, when Congress failed to pass a Farm Bill and left crucial programs un-funded for months. If Congress doesn’t pass a Farm Bill by its deadline of September 30, rural development programs such as the Value Added Producer Grants program, which builds farmer profitability and community jobs, will be defunded for 2019. So will local food programs like the Farmers Market Promotion Program. So will organic programs, like the Organic Agriculture Research and Education Initiative. And so many more.

Moreover, the word from Washington, D.C. is that programs such as Conservation Stewardship Program, won’t allow sign-ups until they do pass a bill.

For more information, see the “What’s at Stake” series on the website of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/whats-at-stake-organic-farming/

Congress is elected to do the people’s business, not to punish them when Congress defaults. It’s time for Congress to do its job and protect farmers, farming communities, beginning farmers, and consumers – yep, that’s all of us! – and pass a Farm Bill, and soon!