A few weeks ago we wrote about the hugely important Farm Bill. Well, the 2014 Farm Bill has now expired and our legislators have postponed taking any action until after the mid-term elections. This means several valuable programs are immediately unfunded and the direction that our food system takes in the coming years depends hugely on who wins in November. We encourage you to read the brief update that we’ve pasted below from the National Young Farmers Coalition and take action on this important issue, and to make sure you and your community are all registered and ready to vote. We’ll continue to keep you updated when Congress picks the Farm Bill back up.
On September 30th Congress allowed the 2014 Farm Bill to expire without a new bill in place or an extension passed. Thus, the following key programs, among others, will no longer be funded:
- Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
- Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (2501)
- Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
- Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)
- Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
- Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Program
- National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP)
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
- Conservation Reserve Program- Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP)
It also means that long-term conservation programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), programs that protect farmland for future generations and help farmers adapt to climate change, will be on hold until Congress can do its job and pass a new bill.
What can you do? First, take action immediately to tell your elected officials how unacceptable this is. Second, it’s an election year. Every Representative and 1/3 of the Senate is on the ballot. This month, as they hold campaign rallies and events in your town, show up! Tell them young farmers need a permanent farm bill.