Farm Bill Update (12/17/18):
The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years and 2018 is one of those years. It is not just important for farmers, it’s important for every single one of us who rely on a safe, abundant, and sustainable food system. It is past time for a new farm bill. Farmers and communities alike are counting on Congress to do its job and pass a new bill – a good one that invests in a better farm and food future. Where are we now? The week of December 12th, Congress released the bill text, the Senate voted in favor 87-13 and the House voted in favor 369-47. The next step is for President Trump to sign the bill into law.
MCE’s Farm Bill Priorities
1) Support Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and fund it at $60 million to ensure the future of local and regional food economies (LAMP at $60 million),
2) Maintain funding for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), with each program functioning independently (Do not cut funding for, or merge together, CSP and EQIP),
3) Adopt the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program (FOTO), which consolidates and streamlines the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program and provide $50 million in annual permanent mandatory funding,
4) Protect SNAP from any funding cuts or changes to work requirements to ensure our most food insecure families can feed themselves (Keep SNAP as is),
5) Adopt the House of Representatives funding levels for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) and the Senate policy changes for FINI
How did MCE’s priorities do in the 2018 Farm Bill?
- LAMP is in with $50 million in mandatory annual baseline funding (a win!)
- CSP and EQIP remain separate programs but CSP will gradually lose funding (mixed bag!)
- FOTO is in with $50 million in mandatory annual baseline funding (a win!)
- SNAP is protected from cuts and work requirement changes (a win!)
- FINI is funded $250 million over 5 years; starting with $45 million per year in 2019, stair-stepped up to $56 million in 2023 (a win!)
Overall, MCE is happy with how our Farm Bill priorities turned out.
What does this mean for Missourians?
- LAMP’s permanent baseline funding of $50 million ensures into perpetuity that farmers, farmers markets, food system advocates, and local food entrepreneurs have funding to establish or expand markets for local farm products and establish or expand the creation of value added products such as salsas, jams, pickles, etc.