Get ready folks! The Farm Bill train is moving.
After a painful trip with myriad stalls and derailments last year, we’re relieved to see that the Farm Bill is getting back on track. The Farm Bill is a mammoth piece of legislation that is renewed every 5 years or so; it funds and directs food and farm policy for the entire country. (Check out our Farm Bill page for more info or read our previous coverage here on our blog!)
Last week, both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees submitted their drafts of the 2013 Farm Bill. Today and tomorrow, members of the Agriculture Committees will “markup” each draft by introducing amendments for vote and prepping the bills for floor votes before the entire Senate and House down the pike.
In short, it means a frenzy of activity is occurring on the Hill. Each minute it seems something has changed or shifted. With budget constraints and plenty of corporate lobbyists putting pressure on the process, we’re proud to support our partners in DC, like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Family Farm Coalition, who are able to keep pace and protect critical programs that support family farmers and good food.
The latest word from our partner the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is that Senate champions have introduced several amendments that support family farms, build strong communities, protect natural resources, invest in future farmers, and reform controversial subsidy payments. We were excited to see three key amendments that support beginning farmers and ranchers by enhancing their access to land, financial capital, and training; three amendments that support local and regional food systems through programs that increase production and access to healthy foods and two critical conservation amendments that will improve farmers’ ability to steward their land and protect our air, soil, and water being proposed. Check out NSAC’s amendment tracker here to see how various proposed amendments to the bill fared.
Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee had its markup. The House will have their markup session tomorrow. Stay tuned for more and of course, we’ll let you know when there’s a good window for you to take action on the 2013 Farm Bill!