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by Lacy Gray, click here for bio
Program: Food Forethought
Date: July 26, 12
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Ag Secretary Vilsack is correct in wanting the Farm Bill to be known as the Food, Farm, & Jobs Bill. A large portion of the media likes to call it the $1 trillion Farm Bill, which creates misconceptions about the ag industry and the Farm Bill itself to the general public. That one trillion dollar amount is spread over a ten year period. Strange in and of itself, since the Farm Bill has a five year shelf life. Then, 80 to 85 percent of the Farm Bill budget is attributed to “mandatory spending programs” such as food stamps, WIC, and school lunches. Why are these programs, and others like them, in the Farm Bill? Good question. Speculation is that it was a political decision made in order to move a farm and rural legislative package more easily through an increasingly urban swayed Congress. In all honesty, it’s worked fairly well, up until now. The 2012 Farm Bill has stalled not because of farm programs or related targets, but because of food stamps. Perhaps we should go one step further than what Secretary Vilsack suggested and once again separate the issues, taking nutrition programs out from under the Farm Bill umbrella. That way the two can stand or fall on their own merits.
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