Many of you have likely been following the Farm Bill debate over the past many months. What you may not know, however, is that last week the House and Senate Agriculture Conferees announced that they had reached an agreement on the 2008 Farm Bill; the 2008 Farm Bill will likely be voted on later this week in the House and Senate. While the majority of Senators and Representatives seem poised to support the new bill, the 2008 Farm Bill can still be vetoed by President Bush if it does not pass with a two-thirds majority in Congress.
The version of the 2008 Farm Bill agreed upon by the House and Senate Conferees looks to include gains for sustainable agriculture. In particular, the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture reports that the current version of the Bill will support funding for organic certification, conversion, and data collection, as well as focusing on conservation programs, renewable energy, country of origin labeling, and increased support for local and community food systems.
Some of these initiatives forebode well for the work of Local Foods Connection. The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture reports that the Community Food Project program will have $50 million divided over the next ten years to provide matching grants to organizations like Local Foods Connection who work on issues of food security and hunger. Local farmers are also expected to get a boost from a program that will offer incentives for schools to purchase local produce.
The Farm Bill isn’t only for farmers. This policy document will shape our food system for years to come. Get informed and get involved. Call your Senators and Representatives to learn more and to get involved. The work of LFC and the food that we eat is at stake.