Much to the dismay of sustainable agriculture advocates across the nation, the farm bill expires today. For those outside of the agricultural sector, this may have been overshadowed by the budget debate and the looming threat of a government shutdown.
However, for farmers across the country, this unusual farm bill impasse, caused primarily by partisan fighting over efforts to cut the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps benefits), brings uncertainty that threatens their business. Last year’s attempt to pass a farm bill resulted in a nine-month extension of 2008 Farm Bill programs, but unfortunately the “extension” didn’t actually extend all USDA programs. Many of the programs that organic farmers depend on were left without any funding at all in 2013. Check out a list of our priority programs that were de-funded. Without these programs, organic growers have been left without access to many types of USDA support that is provided to conventional producers.
What can you do about it?
Call your House of Representatives member and tell them you want a full farm bill passed now! Specifically, please encourage your member to support:
These programs should be funded regardless, whether through a new farm bill or another extension. Keep your eye on the news and your email – CCOF will be reaching out to members through an action alert as soon as we know more!