Jessica Domel 2017-09-27 02:28:37
JOBS • FOOD SECURITY • SAFETY NET About every four years, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. put together a 1,000 page piece of legislation called the farm bill. But what does that have to do with you and me? To start off, it’s more of a food and nutrition bill than a “farm” bill. Only about 20 percent of recent farm bills have gone to safety net programs to protect the farmers and ranchers who feed our country and economy. Without those programs, it would become even more expensive, and riskier, to grow crops and raise livestock in the United States. Farmers have to battle natural threats like Mother Nature and pests every day. Without a farm bill safety net, the risks would simply be too high for many farmers. A single drought could wipe out their livelihood and leave them, and us, in the dust. It would cause the cost of our food to rise and put even more people at risk of going hungry. It’s not free money for farmers. It’s anything but. It does, however, provide the needed support to keep farms and ranches afloat when things go wrong. Another smaller portion of farm bill funding goes to conservation programs that help ensure a healthy planet for future generations. It also goes to research for cures for diseases and new ways to grow crops. It helps us be more efficient and save resources. The greatest percentage of the farm bill is allocated for food and nutrition programs. Millions of families could go hungry each year if it weren’t for the school lunch programs and other assistance programs funded through the farm bill. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, saves lives by helping families with one of their most basic needs—food. It also provides job training for those who need it. The programs that led to the development of advanced biofuels and new energy efficiency practices are also funded through the farm bill. It’s a jobs bill, as well. Almost 16 million American jobs depend on agriculture, which depends on the farm bill. Those people aren’t just farmers and ranchers. They’re truck drivers, grocers, waiters and cooks. They all depend on the farm bill. So why does the farm bill matter? It keeps our nation running with food for our bodies, fuel for our economy, and the knowledge needed to move forward.
Published by Texas Farm Bureau. View All Articles.