Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Complexity be damned: the Farm Bill explained

In just two days, the Farm Bill, one of the more complex and wide ranging pieces of legislation, will expire. The farm bill is made up of ten “titles” ranging from forestry and energy; credit and commodities; to nutrition and conservation. The nutrition title accounts for over half of total farm bill spending, most of which goes to food stamp and emergency food programs. Both House and Senate versions of the proposed farm bill would increase funding for nutrition and for the first time food stamps will be automatically adjusted to account for inflation. If an agreement on a new bill can't be reached before then, the U.S. will either revert to the only other permanent farm legislation it has in place, a bare-bones act from 1949, or wait until a new bill can be drafted next year. However, given the exponentially rising cost of food, increases in the food stamp program may not be enough for the millions of Americans living in food insecure households and the emergency food programs they turn to for help.

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