Farm Bill


U.S. Marine Corps veteran Calvin Riggleman holds an oregano seedling and soil on Bigg Riggs farm in Hampshire County, WV
Photo courtesy Flickr/Lance Cheung, USDA

Will Congress Give Farmers the Farm Bill They Want?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Last week, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee made headlines by unveiling a truly terrible farm bill proposal. In stark contrast, a poll released today shows that farmers across the political spectrum are eager for precisely the kind of tools and incentives House Republicans have firmly turned their backs on. Read more >

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House Agriculture Committee chair Mike Conaway speaks at a hearing.
House Committee on Agriculture Chair Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) opens the hearing with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2017. (Photo: USDA/public domain)

SNAP Work Requirements Provoke Broad Opposition to House Farm Bill

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

The nutrition title of the draft farm bill released by the House last Thursday is an affront to millions of individuals and families across the country—many of whom are part of the electorate that put our current political leaders in office. Despite an outcry of opposition from advocacy groups, the public, and Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee, it appears that Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) is prepared to push through a bill that would be devastating to rural and urban communities alike. Read more >

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Photo: US Air Force

SNAP already has work requirements. Adding more won’t solve poverty.

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of the nation’s federal safety net, with the stated aim of “moving people into the workforce and out of poverty.” This is almost certainly thinly veiled code language for additional work requirements in programs that serve millions of low-income individuals and families, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Farmer using diverse cover crops and animal grazing to build soil health.

Regenerative Farming Trailblazers: How Reintegrating Livestock and Restoring Soils Can Lead to More Resilient Farms

, senior scientist

Across the United States, more farmers are finding that practices that have worked in the past are no longer cutting it. Persistent low prices for common crops (especially corn) paired with high production costs (for example, expensive equipment and fertilizers) have made it hard to stay afloat. At the same time agriculture has also moved increasingly toward systems dominated by a few annual crops—typically corn and soybeans—often with fields left bare between growing seasons. This trend has degraded core resources like soil and water, endangering the long-term viability of many farms. Read more >

Photo: USDA/Ron Nichols
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Food Stamps Cuts Could Hit Rural America Hardest

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

On the night of the 2016 presidential election, President-elect Trump walked away with 60 percent of the vote in the nation’s 2,332 rural counties.

In Owsley County, a 200-square-mile patch of eastern Kentucky, Trump’s victory was propelled by a full 80 percent of the vote—an unsurprising outcome, perhaps, for a county seated in a congressional district that has elected and re-elected Republican representative Hal Rogers by similar margins since 1980.

And it might have been equally unsurprising that, when President Trump unveiled his proposed budget for 2019, Rogers was silent on its 10-year $213 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), if not for one thing: nearly half of Owsley County households, and well over a quarter of those in Rogers’ district at large, rely on SNAP to make ends meet.

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