- There is no way for you not to notice the high price of food products in your local store, your local franchised dollar store, and lower priced supermarket (ex. Aldi, Ledos, etc.) based in your region.
- Prices are not dropping. There is an interrelationship in every aspect of the 'from farm to plate'.
- Every aspect of farming from seedlings, to water allocation, to the price we pay at the grocery.
- From November 2022 to January 2023. The price of a dozen eggs jumps from $1.99/dozen to more then $4.25/dozen.
What’s in the 2018 Farm Bill? The Good, The Bad and The Offal…Our biggest takeaway is this: in a time of farm crisis, this farm bill will not right the ship.
UNDERSTANDING THE FARM BILL
Every five years, the federal government reviews the food and farm landscape and renews the Farm Bill. Who the bill benefits – and how – is the subject of decades of debate.
Farm Aid breaks it down with a Farm Bill 101, ways to take action, and key takeaways.
Google ‘farm bill
101’ for a list of information to
understand the U.S. Farm Bill and its’ ramifications across the board in all
The future of family farm agriculture requires a dramatic shift in policy towards
standards, this farm bill fails. That said, farmers and ranchers cannot wait
another day for the programs that ended when the last farm bill expired on
September 30. The time is now to get them back up and running!
Check out Farm Aid’s Take in our Understanding the Farm Bill Hub for more details on how we got here.
JUMP TO A SECTION:
The 1-800-FARM-AID hotline has had its busiest year yet, with more farmers calling us stressed, desperate and with a shrinking number of viable options for keeping their farms running.
The 2018 Farm Bill could have risen to the occasion by
o restoring commonsense measures like supply management (which would curb the overproduction that is causing the dairy crisis) and
o recommit to fair pricing policies that cover farmers’ cost of production,
o instead of using taxpayer money to compensate for extreme, costly and avoidable market volatility that puts farmers at risk of going out of business.
But this bill won’t do that.
Despite a few bright spots, when it comes to the core challenges facing the farm economy, the 2018 Farm Bill fails spectacularly, and in some cases, actively takes steps backward by giving even more taxpayer money to the wealthiest farm operations.
THE BRIGHT SPOTS:
* Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network: This
important program intending to deal with the rising levels of stress and
mental health concerns in farm country was actually authorized in the 2014
Farm Bill, but never received the funding it so desperately needed, and so
never got going.The 2018 Farm Bill makes important improvements to the
program – such as explicitly providing access to tribal communities – and
authorizes up to $10 million each year until 2023. Upon passage of the bill,
we will be working hard to make sure those dollars end up in the right hands
– with the network of service providers we depend on to help farmers in
crisis navigate their options and receive the support they deserve. Language
in the bill also directs USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services
to examine the problem of occupational stress among farmers and individuals
who work in agriculture to develop a long-term strategy and response.
* The Dairy Margin Protection Program: MPP, a safety net program for dairy farmers now renamed Dairy Margin Coverage was overhauled to make it more useful to dairy farmers across the board but particularly to smaller-scale producers, (those with production of 5 million pounds or less per year—about equivalent to 240 cows). Premiums will be further reduced for farmers. This is a welcome improvement to a program that was all but useless or inaccessible for the many dairy farmers in crisis who have contacted us over the past year, but the 2018 Farm Bill still does not deliver the supply management policy that would deliver fair prices to farmers.
* Boondoggle for the big guys: The 2018 Farm Bill widens loopholes for wealthy mega-farms to exploit commodity and crop insurance subsidies, allowing nieces, nephews, and cousins who may have never worked on the farm to receive taxpayer-funded subsidies. This will continue to drive consolidation in the farm sector, allowing the biggest farms to keep growing and gobble up smaller and midsized operations that are so critical to the wellbeing of rural communities.
LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS
& HEALTHY FOOD ACCESS
WHAT WE LIKE:
* We love LAMP: A number of scrappy programs that spurred local and regional food systems over the last decade have consistently been fighting for funding. This farm bill combines two of our favorites – the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program and Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) – into a new program called the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The Farm Bill provides these programs with permanent funding and makes significant policy improvements.
The 2018 Farm Bill
also reauthorizes the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which will
receive $50 million per year in mandatory funds in perpetuity, the National
Sustainable Agriculture Information Service / Appropriate Technology Transfer
for Rural America (ATTRA), Business and Industry Loan Guarantees Local &
Regional Food Enterprise Set-aside, an expands the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
* Farm to
School: The 2018 Farm Bill fails to provide additional mandatory funding
for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and does not provide for the
regulatory flexibility that would allow school food authorities to procure
local and regional food and farm products.
SOIL, WATER & CLIMATE
For the better
part of a century, farm bills have acknowledged the crucial role that
government dollars can play in developing conservation programs that steward
our natural resources. Funding for these programs has expanded over the last
three decades, as more farmers seek to learn on-farm conservation skills,
invest in the long-term health of our soil, water and climate, and build a
more resilient agricultural system in the face of climate change.
There are important improvements for certified organic growers in this farm
bill, such as increases in the Organic Initiative payment cap within the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a new organic allocation
within the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) – the largest federal conservation
program— and $5 million in mandatory funding for the collection of organic
production data.The bill also increases funding for the Organic Agriculture
Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) to $50 million a year in permanent
funding by 2023, with a total of $395 million in funding over ten years.
Finally, the bill included $24 million in mandatory funding for National
Organic Certification Cost Share from 2019-2023, although this was far less
than advocates had requested.
* Hand outs for
factory farms: While this bill decreases livestock set-asides within EQIP
that were being funneled to the factory farm industry, it does not remove
these loopholes entirely and does not include any of the much-needed reforms
that would limit taxpayer dollars being used to subsidize factory farms.
from the future: You may have to read the fine print to realize that this
Farm Bill establishes cuts over the long-term for CSP past the year 2023,
amounting to over $5 billion in advance cuts to the CSP and EQIP for the next
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL FARMERS
For too long, the
lion’s share of federal farm bill dollars has gone to a narrow segment of farmers
and farm types. Farmers of color and female farmers have experienced
discrimination when seeking access to credit, conservation and other farm
programs. In far too many cases, this discrimination has led to farm families
going out of business and losing their land.
WHAT WE LIKE:
* Hello, FOTO!
The final farm bill combines the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development
Program (BFRDP) and Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and
Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as “Section 2501”) into the
new Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program. The improved
program has permanent funding of $50 million annually, shared equally between
the two programs.
· Set asides: This bill maintains, but fails to increase, allocated dollars set aside for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers in major conservation programs (CSP and EQIP).
· No money, more problems: The bill removes mandatory funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, an important program for farmers and ranchers of all kinds. It also does not provide mandatory funding for Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which are important for beginning farmers.
Washington, D.C. 20020
Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication, Coordination, Community engagement, and Partnering (C5&P)
A 501 (c) 3 organization
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity.
This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Where Are We Going From Here: Chaos or Community’.