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Agriculture Today

Editorial: A Farm Bill for the future

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John Crabtree
Guest Editorial
April 4, 2012 | 4,234 views | Post a comment

House and Senate Agriculture Committees are already holding hearings on writing a new Farm Bill. However, past farm bills demonstrate that we must demand more of Congress. We must demand a Farm Bill that invests in the future of rural communities and the next generation of family farmers and ranchers.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Center for Rural Affairs released a 2012 Farm Bill policy platform on March 19, titled “Farming for the Future, A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food and Farm Bill.”

It includes proposals to strengthen family farming and ranching, and assist beginning farmers and ranchers. These policies, if advanced, will help smaller producers tap into high-value, niche markets; provide access to land and capital for the next generation of farmers and ranchers; level the playing field by capping subsidies to mega-farms; and invest in real family farmers and ranchers.

The entire platform spans nearly every section of the Farm Bill and constitutes a comprehensive approach to reforming federal farm and food policies that will create jobs and economic growth, drive innovation for farm and food entrepreneurs, enhance conservation, protect our natural resources, and invest in the future of rural America.

We cannot continue to follow the failed farm policies of the past. Rural America wants, needs, and deserves a better Farm Bill, one that creates a future for America’s rural places and the people that live there. Farming for the Future contains a best first step at making reform a reality.

John Crabtree is the media director at the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb. He has served on numerous policy and advisory committees, including the Iowa governor’s advisory committee on agriculture.

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