5-2-12: An End to Direct Payments for Farmers?

May 2, 2012 at 8:15 am 1 comment

No Point Farm, St. Mary’s County. Photo: ElvertBarnes via Flickr Creative Commons.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee sent the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 to the floor in a 16 to 5 vote. It’s also known as the Farm Bill–it comes up for reauthorization every five years in Congress.

It’s an omnibus bill that covers a wide range of food issues. Food stamps alone constitute four-fifths of the funding, and this bill would cut four billion dollars out of the food stamp program. Overall, the bill would nip $23 billion dollars out of the federal deficit.

The bill is a big deal for farms, too. Sustainability advocates look to the bill to set food policy on a healthier and more sustainable course. And farmers’ livelihoods can depend on it as they decide what to crops to plant, and how to plan for bad yields and low crop prices.

We wanted to know what this version of the bill would mean for farmers, and for sustainability, here in Maryland. Joining Sheilah to walk us through it are Rebecca Klein, Public Health and Agriculture Policy Project Director with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and Val Connelly, director of government relations for the Maryland Farm Bureau.

Wondering how the spending in the farm bill is divvied up? The Center for a Livable Future website hosts a “budget visualizer.”

Web extras:

Val Connelly on the prospects of the farm bill in the House: Val Connelly on what’s at stake if a new farm bill isn’t passed before the current one expires in September: Rebecca Klein on the prospects of the farm bill in the House: Rebecca Klein on the “sod saver” provision:

Entry filed under: Agriculture, economy, On Air, Policy, Politics. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cindy Walsh  |  May 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

    This farm bill is not an end to subsidy as your politician would like you to believe. It simply changes the subsidy to today’s market. The derivatives market hedges most crop damage by setting a price on the commodity so no direct payment is needed. Wall Street is making small farmers who would want to stay out of the market and get direct payment enter the market instead…..it is like privatizing pensions and entitlements…..the market controls what you get and how you get it. We have a corporate democratic leadership so that would be the course they take.


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