Issue at a Glance
The farm bill is a critical tool for ensuring our nation’s food supply remains secure. Funding for this comprehensive package, which could more accurately be called a food and farm bill, includes risk management tools for farmers, access to nutrition for low-income families, conservation programs and investments in agricultural research.
No one buys insurance for the good times, and similarly, farm bill programs provide critical tools to help farmers and ranchers manage risk. Farm programs are written to provide a basic level of protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. The 2018 farm bill brought certainty to farm and ranch families through crop insurance, improved risk management programs and support for beginning farmers and ranchers, while also providing much-needed funding for trade development and ag research. The entire package was budget neutral and received strong bipartisan support.
Farm Bureau is already preparing for the next farm bill, scheduled for renewal every five years, and we will be looking to our grassroots members for guidance on what priorities we should advocate for. Farming is a difficult and risky business, yet critical to the well-being of our nation. It’s often stated that food security is national security. Few pieces of legislation are more significant than the farm bill when it comes to ensuring our food system is secure. We urge lawmakers to recognize this significance as they consider updating and refreshing the farm bill.
We support the following principles to guide development of programs in the next farm bill:
- Maintain funding commitments to current farm programs;
- Maintain a unified farm bill which includes nutrition programs and farm programs together; and
- Prioritize funding for risk management tools which include both federal crop insurance and commodity programs.
The food and farm bill has been a bipartisan effort in the past. The 2023 farm bill presents an important opportunity for lawmakers to rise above partisanship and work together again to pass legislation that protects food security for all Americans and the future success of our farmers and ranchers.
Get the Facts: How Does the Farm Bill Matter for Everyone?
- Food Security: America’s public investment in agriculture through farm bill programs helps secure our domestic food supply and keep our country strong while consumers get the benefits of high-quality, affordable food.
- Jobs: The food and agriculture industry supports nearly 21.5 million U.S. jobs (that’s more than 14 percent of U.S. employment) and contributes more than $1 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product.
- Conservation: The farm bill’s investment in ag research and conservation programs are critical to ensuring the productivity and sustainability in our farms and domestic food supply.
- Risk Management: We all depend on the success of American agriculture so it’s important for America’s farmers and ranchers to be supported by strong farm programs as they face down weather disasters, high supply costs and inflationary pressures. Managing risk is critical to keep food on our tables.
- Addressing Hunger: The farm bill includes nutrition programs intended to ensure the most vulnerable among us have access to healthy, affordable food.
Farmers and ranchers have a golden opportunity to stress the importance of farm policy with their state and federal lawmakers, as well as the public. Many people are unaware of the benefits of the farm bill, and few are better-positioned than farmers and ranchers to provide a firsthand account.