Farm Bill Fight Reveals Regional Divide

The struggle to pass the 2012 Farm Bill (a struggle that is on hiatus while Congress remains in recess) is revealing deep regional divides across the U.S. and is forcing rural communities and politicians to struggle to gain support in urban areas.

For the last several months, the 2012 Farm Bill has dominated rural news. In May, the Senate passed their version of the bill, putting the fate of the vital legislation in the hands of the House of Representatives. While the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the bill, House leadership refused to take action, keeping the bill off the House floor.

With Congress in its August recess until September 10, many farmers in rural areas have taken up fighting for the farm bill by pressuring local representatives and lobbying urban politicians through farm advocacy groups.

According to South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem, the current challenge is education. “I think we need a lot more people to get engaged. We need more leadership engagement, president engagement, all hands on deck to get this farm bill done and passed into place before it expires,” Noem said. “It’s a bigger challenge to make sure we’ve educated the importance (to urban lawmakers) of ag policy and what it does to benefit every family.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer