Earlier this week a delegation of Ohio farmers flew to Washington D.C. to discuss local agricultural issues with Congressional lawmakers. Part of their trip is motivated by concern over the upcoming Farm Bill. While there has been little concrete legislation submitted, rumors are already circulating that drafts of the bill are being written.
One of the major concerns facing Ohio farmers is the role of the congressional supercommittee, charged with trimming $2 trillion from the federal budget, in drafting the upcoming bill. While the Farm Bill typically takes up to a year to draft and pass, the supercommittee could have a draft ready within two weeks.
The speed of the bill has worried farms, particularly local and organic farmers. According to MacKenzie Bailey, policy coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, “This is the fastest food and farm bill decision-making process in history. And here in Ohio it’s essential that we protect programs that contribute to the success of local and organic family farmers”
The delegation also hopes to meet with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who has recently submitted legislation designed to help small and organic farmers across the country. The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act would protect access to farm programs that are currently facing elimination in the upcoming Farm Bill, including market protections for small farmers and nutrition programs.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer