Farm Bill Deal Helps Family Farmers Without Gutting Food Programs

We’re working our way through the 800-page Farm Bill compromise bill. The legislation will cost $867 billion over 10 years. We expect to see it pass as early as this week and no later than next week. Then it’s on to Trump’s desk for signature into law.
Of course, Trump could veto the measure, but that means the Democratically controlled House Agriculture Committee would get a chance to rewrite the whole thing next year. That’s the last thing the Republicans want.
It’s a dense read, but here are some early highlights:
  • ‎It allows for crop insurance and federal subsidies overall to increase moving forward, in part because of catastrophic weather patterns that destroy agriculture,  and the devastating effect the Trump Trade War has had on Family Farmers.
  • It includes subsidies capped at $125,000 per person annually for farmers and family members‎ , adding a controversial provision that includes cousins, nieces and nephews. This is a boondoggle, but it was trade off.
  • It doesn’t include language that would have taken away food and nutrition programs for more than 1.5 million children, seniors, veterans, single mothers, and active duty families. The Trump administration will now try to do an end around with a directive or executive order, but expect a court challenge to that move.
  • It allows Family Farmers to cultivate, process and sell hemp, but it falls short on criminal justice reforms for Americans convicted of past hemp-related felonies. The bill requires those individuals to wait 10 years before they can work in the legalized hemp industry. Expect to see a lively fight against that provision in future criminal justice reform legislation debates.
  • There are a cross-section of provisions, from farm subsidies to food and nutrition ‎programs to hemp legalization that would benefit the Native American tribes and nations.
  • There are some provisions for thinning forests under the guise of wildfire controls, but the bill does not go as far as House Republicans or Trump administration sought.
  • There is grant  funding ‎for urban farming programs that have become popular with everyone from soccer moms to immigrant communities.
  • There is funding for indoor farming programs that may become a crucial part of how Americans grow food, given the catastrophic weather patterns that threaten crops.
Plenty to digest there, and we urge urge you to read the bill. Most lawmakers won’t, so somebody should. It’s not perfect ‎legislation, but it is a victory over the social clear cutters, especially Paul Ryan and Trump, who sought to use the Farm Bill to rip a hole in the American Safety Net. It appears they failed.
Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply