Details of the Farm Bill, currently being drafted in secrecy by the heads of the House and Senate agricultural committees, have been leaked to the public. As expected, the bill contains major cuts to several vital farm programs.
In particular, the proposed bill focuses on conservation and nutrition programs, severely reducing federal funds over the next several years. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as Food Stamps, will lose $4 billion over the next ten years. This reduction is a major reversal of agricultural policy of the past several years, which has focused on increased nutrition and making healthy food available to lower income families. SNAP currently assists over 45 million people in need.
In addition to nutritional cuts, the proposed Farm Bill will slash funding to conservation programs, further weakening these vitals projects. One of the most important conservation programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, will see its available acreage reduced by 7 million acres. Total cuts from all conservation programs could reach $6 billion.
Ken Cook, the President of the Environmental Working Group, sharply criticized the bill, stating, “No conservationist worthy of the name should accept legislation that cuts another $6-plus billion from the farm bill’s programs to protect land, water and wildlife.”
Surprisingly, in the midst of this austerity frenzy, subsidies for major crops like corn and cotton have remained in place.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer