Now that Congress has passed, and the President has signed the Farm Bill, farmers can move forward with their planting plans with some measure of certainty. The new Farm Bill provides a safety net for farmers in the event of severe losses with several crop insurance options. The bill also provides disaster provisions for livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers.
Programs within the Farm Bill will enhance rural economies with additional jobs, invest in research and education and include reform that works for farm and ranch families. The new Farm Bill tightens eligibility requirements for participation in both the farm programs as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some will find fault with the new bill due to changes in specific programs, but with the Nation’s increasing deficit, we must recognize that business as usual can’t continue.
One addition to the Farm Bill that I am particularly interested in watching is the creation of a permanent subcommittee within the EPA Science Advisory Board. This committee will be tasked with conducting peer review of EPA actions that would negatively impact agriculture. Given EPA’s efforts to expand their authority over air and water, we hope that the new committee will raise awareness of the cost of proposed regulations to those of us who feed the nation.