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small farmers

cornFarm state – that is, most states, actually – legislators are worried, and things are moving along
 

Over the past few weeks, Congress moved forward on the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the bill, and then the House of Representatives narrowly passed its version, a month after it was defeated over immigration issues. Within the $800 billion bill, big-ticket items like crop insurance and nutrition generate the most impassioned public debate. But beyond the proverbial meat and potatoes, there are many smaller sources of funding that provide vital support to the farming community.
 
A group of 12 funding sources, which the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) refers to as “tiny but mighty” programs, leverage a far greater impact than their cost might suggest. Primarily targeted at sustainable food systems across the U.S., they include programs such as the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Program, Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).
 
The House version of the farm bill strips these programs of over $350 million in funding, entirely removing a budget baseline for six of them. While farmers across the nation benefit from these programs, young and beginning farmers in particular would greatly benefit from ongoing investment in sustainable agriculture. The Senate farm bill would reauthorize funding for all but the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, and even strengthens many of the programs that provide additional support to young farmers.
(Civil Eats)

The House bill also contains attacks on food stamp recipients and bigger handouts for predatory corporations than ever. The Senate bill doesn’t, and something very much like it that clears a conference committee will likely get enough support from both parties in the House to pass there.
 
Will Trump sign it? Certainly his instincts are with the current House bill. But what with one thing and another, he may not care enough about farms and food to raise any ruckus over this.
 

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