The Farm Bill is one of the largest pieces of legislation that goes through the House and Senate, and has everything to do with what food is accessible and affordable.
Over the last year, the 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization process was delayed, negotiated behind closed doors, allowed to expire, and ultimately extended as we moved into 2013. In 2012, after a version of the Farm Bill was voted through both the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the full Senate, the bill went to the House Agriculture committee where it was voted through and put on hold by House Republican leadership. The 2008 Farm Bill expired on September 30th, 2012 after the House’s failure to introduce the bill to the floor, allowing several equitable provisions including 37 critical programs to expire along with the bill.
The Community Food and Justice Coalition was involved in the 2008 Farm Bill reauthorization, working with partners and community members to fight for a bill to include policies that would benefit and prioritize healthy food access, sustainable farming techniques, and equal support of small-scale, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers (see our Farm Bill 2008 page for more details). Through workshops, listening sessions, and national partnerships, CFJC has continued our Farm Bill involvement into the 2012 and now 2013 versions.
Over the past two years, CFJC has worked to involve the community in the conversation through our Farm Bill workshops, while also stepping into the national sphere through our national partnerships, working toward equity in the food system. Our Executive Director Y. Armando Nieto has spoken out on the Farm Bill process in his monthly Executive Director letters, where CFJC has modeled true transparency in our reaction to each version of the Farm Bill throughout the process.
CFJC’s involvement in national collaborations such as the GOAT process has allowed instant communication around the Farm Bill with partner organizations on the Hill and across the country. This kind of communication is necessary for organizations like CFJC, who are based outside of the beltway, to give detailed and informed updates on the back-door political actions occurring each week, while also connecting local concerns with national policy reform. Through this involvement, CFJC has been able to take immediate necessary action to support our priorities on behalf of our membership.
Our goal is to inform our members of the current political actions and inform our partners and representatives of the priorities of our members. CFJC has taken many actions to support an equitable Farm Bill throughout the 2012 rauthorization, and after the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill in the new year. We are continuing to advocate on behalf of beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, SNAP, conservation, and our other priorities during the 2013 reauthorization process, and until we get the equitable, comprehensive Farm Bill we deserve.