Once again Congress is considering the U.S. Farm Bill, the government’s primary tool in determining agriculture and food policy. This bill affects all U.S. citizens – and many people throughout the world – whether or not they farm or raise food for market. But the legislation often flies under the public radar because people don’t think “farm” has anything to do with their needs and issues.
As the health of the environment and the wellbeing of farm animals are increasingly threatened by irresponsible use of pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics, the issues addressed by Farm Bill legislation weigh increasingly on our daily lives.
Though some critics call the bill “The world’s most outdated law” and call for its complete retirement (see www.AmericanBoonDoggle.com for an interesting discussion of this issue), the legislation is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future and its contents continue to matter.
As Congress considers the 2013 Farm Bill, it has the opportunity to enact legislation that protects and supports the nation’s family farmers, in addition to protecting consumers and the natural environment.
The Mother Earth News community abounds with farmers and market gardeners who produce food in ways that protect the environment, provide healthy food for consumers and practice conscious stewardship of Earth’s resources. Typically, past farm bills have done more to protect the largest and most successful agricultural corporations than to create policies that support family farms and the environment.
The Farm Bill shouldn’t automatically subsidize the largest farm businesses and it should create support for smaller-scale, sustainably managed farm operations. Check the Environmental Working Group’s suggestions for a platform that would make the 2013 Farm Bill one that’s healthy for farmers, consumers and the environment.
Then, if you agree this is an issue that concerns us all, get on the phone, call your representatives and let them know where you stand on this vital issue.