Farm Bill Supports Organic Future

Image via the New York Times.
Last month President Obama signed a new Farm Bill that looks like it's headed in the right direction! The bill will have a wholly positive impact on the US farming industry, further strides by the USDA, and support a healthier general public. If you don't have time to digest the entire bill, here are some key takeaways that'll keep you in know and able to hold a conversation on the topic. 
  • Farmer Safety Net - the bill will provide American farmers with a safety net via various crop insurance programs.  This transfers some of the risk of crop volatility off the farmers and onto the federal government.
  • Easy Access - Americans, notably food stamp recipients, will have easier access to healthy, USA-grown produce.  Programs that are getting fresh produce into communities without will see more financial support from the government.
  • Packaging Upgrade - now all pork, chicken and beef products are required to list more information on their labels, so now you can connect with the animal...you're about to eat.  You will know where the animal is from and where it was processed.
  • Environmental Conservation - Farmers who want to produce subsidized crops, like corn, wheat and soy, are now required to follow a series of conservation guidelines, to protect virgin land and limit soil erosion.  For example, farmers that cut down virgin forests for farmland could receive only half of the normal subsidies. 
  • Taxpayer Transition - the bill includes a shift in which farmers are to benefit from taxpayer dollars.  Now, fruit and vegetable, and organic farmers will see more support. Financial support for farmers transitioning to organic farming (normally a three year process) has doubled.
  • Subsidized Crops - sushi rice and a few others have been added to the list of subsidized row crops.  If sushi rice prices drop too low, the government will now make up the difference. 

Read more of bill's highlights here and the original article from the New York Times here.