We always hear about the big battles on Capitol Hill regarding budgets, the debt ceiling, all kinds of environmental laws and others, but there is one piece of legislation that rarely gets any attention, yet is vital to virtually every American: The Farm Bill.  This bill falls under a different name each time it is dealt with (usually set to expire every 5 years), but it is always colloquially known as The Farm Bill.

Most people, when they hear of this bill, think of tax-breaks and hand-outs to agriculture and farmers, but recently it’s been quite different.  The current farm bill up for consideration controls most of the funding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recieves, 80% of which would go towards Food Stamps. Agriculture, conservation, and forestry are left with the remaining 20%.

A little bit of searching can tell you everything you need to know about the specifics and actual verbiage of the bill.  These policies set prices ceilings and floors, manage direct payments, and control mandates that set our country’s food, fiber, and fuel policies. These affect all of us when we pull up to the fuel pump or fill up our cart at the grocery store.

Many of our Representatives and Senators sit on the Ag Committee and have helped write the bill, and all will vote on it when it goes to the full chambers of Congress. This policy affects us all, and we all need to be aware and active in it to ensure that America’s Agriculture policy helps all of us by ensuring that our elected officials are held accountable on one of the key issues that comes before them this year. Conservatives need to remind our elected officials how important free enterprise is to not only the business and manufacturing industries, but also agriculture, and letting the markets determine the products that are bought and sold in Ag markets, not interest groups and anti-agriculture rhetoric.

Ed Peichel | St. John’s University | @EdwardPeichel