Killing The Economy Part 1 – The Farm Bill

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Got this email from Iowa CCI Thursday looking for stories from farmers concerning the new Farm Bill that is weaving its way through the Republican controlled US House and US Senate. If you haven’t heard, this bill has many repugnant pieces. From the email:

This year’s Farm Bill is heating up.

We’ve seen the first draft – and it doesn’t look good. Even though independent family farmers are hurting right now, Members of Congress are content with fewer restrictions for Big Ag corporations at the expense of our health, air, and water.

Our friends at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have a great breakdown here.

We know farmers are trapped in a system of that is largely dictated by Big Ag. That’s why Iowa CCI members are making sure federal policies stop propping up the factory farm industry by zeroing in on two Farm Bill programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and federal direct and guaranteed loans.

Both of these programs are important: they were created to support conservation and help beginning family farmers. But, over time, they were hijacked to divert millions of dollars toward constructing factory farms.

If you’re a farmer, I’m writing to ask for your help. We want to learn more about your experience using these two programs.

Click here to fill out a Farm Bill and sustainable agriculture survey.

Your input really matters to us! We know this is a busy time of year for you as fieldwork begins. But, your feedback will help us understand how these programs are – and are not – working for family farmers. Take a few minutes to fill out the survey by clicking here.

I truly appreciate your time. Together, we can fight for a fair Farm Bill that works for independent family farmers – not the factory farm industry!

Sincerely,

Erica

Community Organizer

P.S. Not a farmer, but know a farmer? Please forward this on!

The link to the Institute For Agriculture and Trade Policy above has a couple of eye opening paragraphs on a couple of the provisions in the Farm Bill:

Perhaps the most notable program elimination is that of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which currently offers support to farmers undertaking conservation activities on over 70 million acres of land across the country. Without CSP, farmers would have no assistance to implement whole-farm conservation plans, which would result in less resilient farms and increased pollution. The money from CSP wouldn’t be funneled into other conservation programs, either; the draft Farm Bill proposes to cut funding for all working lands conservation programs by $7.1 billion (20 percent) over 10 years. To make things worse, CAFOs would be eligible to receive more conservation dollars than they have in the past. This would make funding even more scarce for farmers wanting to implement meaningful conservation plans on their land.

The draft Farm Bill isn’t only bad for farmers; it would also deal a blow to people who need nutrition assistance. The draft Farm Bill increases work requirements for all able-bodied adults of working age, including parents, in order to be eligible for SNAP benefits. The draft Farm Bill would also make it more difficult to get waivers from the work rules. Currently, 3.5 million SNAP recipients are subject to work rules. The provisions in this bill could raise that number to between 5.5 and 6.5 million. This bill offers no leeway for people who are temporarily unemployed or who have certain other life circumstances limiting their ability to work.

Pretty obvious that this bill will have a major effect on farming states like Iowa.

Add this major piece of incompetence to the incompetence that the current administration has shown by threatening the world with tariffs. We will discuss tariffs and trade negotiations in part 2.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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