As Americans celebrated Memorial Day, Congress continued the debate over the Farm Bill – a debate that has now lasted almost two years. The question on most farmers’ minds is when will our government pass a working Farm Bill? Americans have been waiting for a bill that will benefit all parties involved from the producer to the consumer. But when will they get that bill?
What is the latest? Well, both houses of Congress finally passed a Farm Bill, which then was vetoed, as promised, by the president for going over budget. Then the House of Representatives overrode the veto. However, due to a clerical error, Congress is forced to vote on the Farm Bill once again.
After Congress votes on the Farm Bill again, it will then be sent to the president with all the documents included, sans the clerical error. Congress is predicting the president will veto the bill again, and then the House will once again override the veto.
Is the Farm Bill worth all of this commotion? There is a lot of value placed on the bill. According to a coalition organized by the National Farmers Union consisting of more than 500 farm, conservation, nutrition, consumer and religious groups, the Farm Bill “makes significant farm policy reforms, protects the safety net for all of America’s food producers, addresses important infrastructure needs for specialty crops, increases funding to feed our nation’s poor, and enhances support for important conservation initiatives.”
Roughly 74 percent of the money in the bill is allocated to help put food on the tables of the poor, as well as improving their diets and nutrition. The Farm Bill also includes a free fresh fruit and vegetables snack program for schools. Congress has allotted around $40 billion each year to feed the poorest 11 percent of Americans. An additional $1 billion will go to the Emergency Food Assistance Program for Food Banks.
The Farm Bill has its pluses and minuses, so to answer my own question, we’ll have to watch to see if all the interested parties think it is worth the commotion.