How Other Politics Affect the Food and Farm Bill

Historic drought, ongoing economic downturn, budget negotiations

The negotiation of the next Food and Farm Bill doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it’s subject to all of the realities and negotiations of the current political and environmental landscape.The recent political landscape is a particularly complicated one. Here, we’ve gathered some analysis and predictions to help you make sense of it.

Enduring Drought, Farmers Draw The Line At Congress (8/12/12)
Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times
A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks.

With Food Prices, Drought Affects Farmers More Than Consumers (8/8/12)
PennState University
While consumers will see increases in the prices of meat, eggs and dairy products as a result of this year’s drought, they won’t see its effects nearly as much as farmers.

Will The Farm Bill Prop Up Doomed Crops In This Extreme Climate? (7/11/12)
Tom Laskawy, Grist
Drought conditions and above-average temperatures are likely to continue for some time. The economic implications for the entire Midwest — and not just farmers — are dire.

Food Stamps In Crosshairs Of Republicans’ Plan To Save Military (4/27/12)
Arthur Delaney & Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post
“The latest Republican plan to reconcile the budget and preserve defense spending extracts even deeper cuts from programs to help the poor and Americans still reeling from the recession.”

Ryan Budget Would Slash SNAP Funding by $134 Billion Over Ten Years (3/22/12)
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan includes cuts in SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) of $133.5 billion — more than 17 percent — over the next ten years, which would necessitate ending assistance for millions of low-income families, cutting benefits for millions of such households, or some combination of the two.”

Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (11/1/11)
Introduced in early November 2011, the bill is designed to retool local and regional food systems and infrastructure, and “expand farming businesses, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies.” It makes it easier for smaller farmers to obtain credit, and prioritizes consumer access to “healthy, fresh food” with support for technology and direct sales. The legislation is Senate bill 1773 and House Resolution 3286.

What the Farm Bill Is Going On? A Simple Timeline of Events (11/15/11)
Food+Tech Connect
A simple timeline illustrating the Food and Farm Bill vis-à-vis the deficit super committee process.

Environmental Working Group (9/11)
Several articles of analysis of where the deficit “super committee” could make cuts to reform farm policy.

2012 Farm Bill debate rolls into deficit drama (9/2/11)
Harvest Public Media
Nobody’s saying a farm bill will be written in these next six weeks, but projected cuts in the weeks ahead could create a whole new playing field.”

Fast Facts on the Debt Deal and What It Means for the Farm Bill (8/22/11)
Fair Food Network
It is possible that there could be a sort of mini-Farm Bill process this fall to authorize the cuts to be made for debt reduction.…