Believe it or not, the Farm Bill affects every grocery shopper every day. If you eat on a regular basis, the Farm Bill affects you. In fact, it should really be called a Food Bill rather than a Farm Bill. The Farm Bill allows us to provide you with the food priorities you want. We understand that you want us to deliver safe and healthy food to your grocery shelves and local markets. We’ve done our best to deliver what you want while keeping your costs the lowest in the world. In 2011, American’s spent less than 7% of their income on groceries which is less than any other country in the world. In 1929, we spent almost a quarter of our income on food. It is imperative that our customers understand that farming is unlike any other industry. The Farm Bill is not a bail out program, it is a necessity in order to keep safe, healthy and affordable food on our tables.
The Farm Bill helps
Nature is an unreliable and aggressive business partner. The fact that our friends in the Midwest have lost entire crops due to the drought this summer is proof of this fact. This is not the stock market that can be played and manipulated. This is not a jobs report and it has nothing to do with the dollar index. Natural disasters and weather cannot be predicted reliably no matter the expertise of the climate researchers. Hundreds of farmers would be bankrupt and out of business today if it weren’t for crop insurance. If family farms go out of business, consolidation and the growth of true corporate farming will increase at the fastest pace imaginable. Families still operate more than 90 percent of today’s farms, whether they own 10 acres or 10,000 acres. The majority of Farm Bill money goes to families like yours, not celebrities and Monsanto.
If you enjoy shopping at your local farmer’s markets, our friends there also have the opportunity to benefit from the Farm Bill. In fact, there are more than 7,500 farmer’s markets registered with the USDA today. This is a vital arena giving more options to our customers, and it needs to expand into new regions, suburbs and downtowns. The Farmers Market Promotion Program offers grants to help improve and expand domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. If you haven’t guessed, this too is a Farm Bill program and there are many others designed to help young, small, large and old farms survive in our country.
While some anti-agriculture groups have tried to sway the American public against Farm Bill funding, their tactics aren’t working. According to the Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton University Survey Research Associates International, 76% of Americans polled support U.S. farm policy that helps ensure that “prices for their crops don’t fall too low,” with 39% advocating an increase in U.S. farm policy investment and 37% believing current investment should be maintained.
As grain farmers, we advocate for a safety net that is reliable, provides meaningful coverage for producers throughout the country and is mindful of the world-wide marketplace in which our commodities operate. Federal farm policies are a key part of United States domestic and international policy.
Here is another great resource to learn more about Food and Farm Policy.