Checking In On The Farm Bill

We last mentioned the Farm Bill almost two months ago. Michael Pollan had just published his polemic on the bill in the New York Times and awareness of the bill’s scope was being raised. Now the Farm Bill is finally coming before Congress. The Times ran an excellent piece summing up the debate in yesterday’s Dining section.

We were heartened to learn that it seems that an alliance in favor of reforming the Farm Bill has been quietly forming, encompassing such wildly unlikely bedfellows as the Bush Administration, Democratic legislators and Environmental Defense. Although opposition to change remains strong among those currently benefiting from the giant subsidies given to farmers growing corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, and cotton, it seems likely that the new Farm Bill will be significantly different than the one passed five years ago. The Times reports that tomorrow, two proposals will be presented to the House of Representatives. One will suggest making small cuts to subsidies and propose a variety of new programs, including aid to farmers who grow fruits and vegetables (other than corn and soybeans), organic farming, and farmers’ markets. The other will suggest even more programs, including rewards for farmers using environmentally sustainable practices.

If you have strong feelings about the Farm Bill, it’s not too late to contact your Representative. Remember, the Farm Bill isn’t just about what happens on farms somewhere in the Midwest. The Farm Bill is perhaps the most tremendously important piece of food legislation and, as food lovers, it’s in our best interest to make sure it’s the best law possible.

You Are What You Grow [Michael Pollan]
The Debate Over Subsidizing Snacks [New York Times]
Write Your Representative [US House of Representatives]

[Photo: St. Louis County]

Checking In On The Farm Bill