farm bill

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking at The Farm Bill, a lawsuit regarding restrictions on cages for egg-laying hens, and labels on genetically modified foods. 

Flickr / Natalie Maynor

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

Courtesy Stephen Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Barak Obama signed the new farm bill into law Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, ending years of negotiations and wrangling.

With farm equipment, hay bales and crates of apples setting the stage, the president told the crowd that this farm bill – officially called the Agriculture Act of 2014 – will save taxpayer dollars while also offering support to farmers and ranchers. And he says that helps the whole country.

Courtesy National Archives

When President Obama signs the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014 – the new farm bill – into law Friday, both farmers and food stamps advocates will be sighing in relief. This farm bill process was fraught with ups and downs and the loose coalition tying nutrition and farm programs seemed barely able to survive.

After more than two years of debate on Capitol Hill, a new farm bill is poised to become law after both the U.S. House and Senate approved it.
andrewmalone/Flickr

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which we talk about important issues related to food production.

President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill, into law on Friday afternoon.

andrewmalone/Flickr

The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill Tuesday by a vote of 68-32, sending it to the president’s desk and ending years of political wrangling.

The legislation is expected to become law, as President Obama previously indicated he would sign the measure. The House passed it Jan. 29.

missouri capitol
greetarchurchy / Flickr

It’s getting so close now… Wednesday morning the U.S. House passed the Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. President Obama’s signature could be on it in the coming days and then…boom!

wobble-san/Flickr

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which we talk about important issues related to food production.

News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Mo. to start screening newborns for heart disease
  • Nixon Makes Christmas Eve 'Gift' By Releasing $40 Million For Spending
  • Farmers prepare for another year without a farm bill
farmland
File / KBIA

For the second straight year, farmers are heading into a new year without a farm bill. The massive package provides government support for farmers and ranchers. Divisions in Congress, including over the nutrition programs that make up the bulk of the spending, have kept it from the president’s desk.

Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

The next farm bill is all but certain to contain cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have transformed millions of acres of prairie grass to rows of corn. High crop prices are a big motivation, but some also believe crop insurance is encouraging farmers to roll the dice on less productive land.

Rod Christen and his sister Kay farm corn, soybeans and wheat on their land near the small town of Steinauer, Neb. But their main crop is grass.

“Big bluestem is our big producer,” said Rod Christen. “It’s kind of our Cadillac grass.”

tractor on farmland
(tpsdav/pixabay)

Farmers are working without a farm bill after a nine-month extension on the last one expired Sept. 30. 

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues contained in the farm bill, but both political parties agree on something: the $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called Direct and Countercyclical Payments has got to go.

The program shells out to farmers and land owners regardless of need or loss. It’s a hold-out from a farm bill that promised an end to subsidies and it’s holding on only because Congress is so dysfunctional.  

courtesy of Zynga

 

The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.

Federal conservation programs soon to lose funding

Sep 4, 2013
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Farmers across the country are being encouraged to sign up for federal conservation programs. The catch is, as of now, the programs have no funding.

Scott Stuntz reports for Harvest Public Media.

Legislators not giving up hope for farm bill

Aug 14, 2013
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With Congress in its August recess, the farm bill is stalled and many are pessimistic about getting a new bill passed before the current extension expires on Sept. 30. Still, farm country legislators aren’t exactly giving up hope.

Republican Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock was asked about the farm bill at a town hall style meeting in in his district this week.
He said that he thinks the most likely outcome is that the House will pass a “food stamp bill,” to go along with a agriculture portion it passed in June. That could put the farm bill back on track.

Claire McCaskill
File Photo / KBIA

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will spend much of the August congressional recess talking about the farm bill, which is hung up in a legislative impasse.

Hopes are dim for compromise on the legislation after the Senate approved a five-year plan regulating farm programs and food stamps, but the House signed off on a bill dealing only with farm programs. McCaskill says Republican efforts to make sharp cuts to the food stamp program are holding up the farm bill, which she says is unfair to farmers in Missouri.

supplemental nutrition assistance program
Selbe B / flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill, a version that excludes funding for nutrition assistance programs nationwide.  But most analysts believe the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t approve a version that does not include funding for programs like food stamps. 

Why crop insurance subsidies are winning out

Jun 19, 2013
farmer in a field
Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

There is little doubt that crop insurance will emerge from the current farm bill process with hefty subsidies in place. If anything, the program will become a larger part of the farming safety net.

Members of Missouri and Illinois' Congressional delegations are weighing in on the U.S. House version of the Farm Bill, which could be voted on before week's end.

Illinois Republican Rodney Davis told reporters today via conference call that the bill is a big improvement over the version passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's Business Beat: 47 million Americans are enrolled in the SNAP program, or food stamps, including nearly 16 percent of Missourians.  SNAP is the biggest spending item in the farm bill. And the program has a big bulls eye on it as Congress debates new legislation. As Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, the economic considerations go beyond who receives SNAP benefits to how and where the money is spent.

At the farmers market, with food stamps

Jun 5, 2013
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.

“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.

Dozens of Ste. Genevieve County residents met last night (Tuesday) with the company applying to open up a sand mine in their neighborhood. Locals fired questions at Mark Rust, owner of Summit Proppants, for four hours about health concerns, traffic safety and property values.

Missouri voters will get the chance to consider a constitutional amendment next fall that would affirm the rights of farmers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices. The state House and Senate passed the measure during the end of the legislative session last week. Harvest Public Media reports.

Federal funds flow to rural communities

May 22, 2013
Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

In the small town of Staunton, Ill., the new $9 million water plant is a welcome addition. After all, when the 80-year-old facility it replaces seized up last year, the community’s 5,000 residents were without water for five days. 

But for Staunton’s part-time mayor Craig Neuhaus, the plant represents more than water security. He expects the water system upgrade to help bring business to this town about 40 miles north of St. Louis.  

The future of crop insurance and conservation programs for the Midwest is up for debate in Washington, as the farm bill reaches the floor of the Senate. The agriculture committees of both the Senate and the House passed new five-year bills last week and legislation is expected to make its way to the House floor soon.

The overarching theme this year is spending cuts—as with most federal programs. But how the two bodies trim down the farm bill differs. Nutrition programs will lose the most, with the House cutting more than the Senate.

rustinpc / flickr

With a new farm bill, farmers may have access to fewer dollars for conservation. For 27 years, the popular Conservation Reserve Program has transformed small parcels of land, contributing to cleaner water, more habitat for migrating birds and less soil erosion. But as Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports from Iowa, the program has been enrolling fewer acres in recent years and it’s not just budget cuts that could make it smaller still.

Abbie Fentriss Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers across the country expected to start the New Year with a new farm bill, the all-important legislation setting agricultural policy for the next five years.

As House and Senate negotiators worked feverishly at the turn of the year to come to a fiscal cliff deal, word leaked that the Agriculture Committees had finally come to an agreement on a long-awaited new farm bill. But the final fiscal cliff deal ditched new legislation and merely extended parts of the bill that expired in October. Jeremy Bernfeld reports the extension left many farmers frustrated.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Beyond subsidies and food stamps, what’s in the farm bill?

With the election over, lawmakers are now returning to Washington for the final weeks of the 112th Congress. Their schedule is packed, but House majority leader Eric Cantorhas said addressing the expired Farm Bill is on the agenda.

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