Farm bill benefits our community

By From page A6 | December 04, 2012

The farm bill noted in Congressman John Garamendi’s comments on his upcoming role on the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives is more than a commonly perceived notion that the farm bill is a “handout” to farmers. The farm bill is far more complex and provides for far more than the name implies.

The House and the Senate passed a farm bill this past summer and the House Agriculture Committee passed a farm bill; it’s waiting for the full House consideration.

Over the next decade, it is estimated that of the $993 billion that are mandatory expenditures, $772 billion (78 percent) will go to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (what used to be known as “food stamps”), $154 billion (16 percent) will go to farm commodity support and crop insurance and $64 billion (6 percent) will go to agricultural conservation.

The bill is divided into the following different titles, each of which covers major issues: commodity programs; conservation; trade; nutrition (includes fresh food for schools); credit; rural development; research, extension and related matters; forestry; energy; horticulture; livestock; crop insurance and disaster assistance; and miscellaneous.

We live in a county whose economy is based on agriculture and so few non-ag people really understand the complexities of the business, let alone the farm bill, which has been on the demonized list. Farmers not only feed our nation, they feed the world. If we ever lose our strength in agriculture, we will have real problems.

It is worth learning more about the farm bill and how it benefits our community.
Vernette Marsh

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