On September 30th, Congress abandoned America’s farmers, eaters and rural communities right alongside clean water and healthy soil. The 2014 Farm Bill expired on September 30th, and despite months of organizing, letter-writing, and phone calls from Alliance members here in Illinois and many others across the nation, no new farm bill was offered up. Without a new farm bill, critical programs have been orphaned without funding.
While the biggest programs of the 2014 Farm Bill (SNAP and crop insurance) will continue for the time being, a wide range of programs, including ones that support beginning producers, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers, organic farming, and soil and water conservation practices, have lost their authorization and will no longer receive funding. These orphaned programs will not resume unless they are re-authorized in a newly adopted version of the Farm Bill. And with legislators returning home to campaign before the November election….this could be months.
- No grants will be awarded to help connect farmers and eaters – for example, by helping a food hub partner with farmers to build its supply chain, or by improving healthy food access through nutrition incentives for low-income families.
- No grants will be awarded to support beginning and underserved farmers in the field – for example, by underwriting new farmer training or one-on-one technical assistance for farmers of color.
- No investments will be made to help create rural jobs – for example, by providing value-added farm businesses with financial planning and working capital or to directly assist rural small businesses with loans.
- No funding will be available to encourage organic production – for example, by partially reimbursing certification expenses or investing in cutting-edge research with environmental and economic benefits at public universities.
What YOU can do:
1. Call your member of Congress today to urge them to get back to work to get a Farm Bill done. You can simply say:
“Hi, I’m (name) from (town). I’m calling to urge my Representative to pass the bipartisan Senate-passed farm bill, that includes no cuts to conservation programs and robust funding for the tiny but mighty local food programs.”
2. Be there. As legislators return home to campaign before the November election, make your voice heard. Show up at town halls and rallies and let them know that the food system belongs to everyone and we all deserve wholesome local food that supports the well-being of our communities.