The Community Food and Justice Coalition is working to connect people to the policy, and the policy to the people. As part of CFJC’s ongoing efforts to ensure that food policy reflects the needs of our communities, a major focus of the coalition is to work on the upcoming 2012/13 reauthorization process of the Farm Bill. As currently constructed, the Farm Bill has everything to do with the food we eat every day, and the reauthorization process provides a means to engage a wide variety of sectors, stakeholders and community residents in the effort to fix our broken food system.
The Farm Bill is an omnibus piece of legislation on food and farming reauthorized every 5-7 years. The latest version, the 2008 Farm Bill expired September 30, 2012, and was extended before the new year (see full 2012/13 Farm Bill timeline at bottom of the page).
More about the Farm Bill
The 2008 version of the Farm Bill covers 15 categories, called “titles”, ranging from crop insurance to livestock and research. Over its roughly 5 years, over $300 billion has been spent on programs within these 15 titles. However, funding is not evenly distributed:
Equity: Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (2501), Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program, Substantially Underserved Trust Area Initiative, Highly Fractionated Land Loan Program.
Nutrition: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), emergency food, nutrition education.
Commodity subsidies: Direct payments to farmers for wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, peanuts, tobacco.
Crop insurance: Disaster assistance payments, subsidized crop insurance plans, small business loan program, read more on crop insurance reform from our partner EWG, and through the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report.
Conservation: Farmland preservation, conservation reserve programs, financial and technical assistance to improve lands in production, compliance mechanisms.
Rural Development: Grants and loans for water and waste facility programs, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Less than 1% of Farm Bill funding goes to other important titles that protect our land and support our healthy food systems and farmers:
Horticulture and Organic Agriculture: Grants for production, marketing, and promotion of “specialty crops” (i.e. fruits, vegetables, and nuts) and expansion of farmers’ markets; organic certification support.
To learn more about the 2008 version of the Farm Bill and its impacts on our health and the health of our communities, see our Farm Bill factsheet, a part of our Farm Bill resources page. If you would like to have CFJC give a Farm Bill workshop to your California community, visit our workshop page for more information.
CFJC Farm Bill platform
As the Farm Bill is being reauthorized in Congress, CFJC has posted its policy priorities, gathered from community workshops, a survey of members, and working with our partner organizations.
CFJC holds Farm Bill workshops throughout the state to to discuss the biggest challenges with our current food system and what residents see as real solutions.
Partners and coalitions
CFJC is working with national coalitions to make this Farm Bill an equitable one, especially during this time of economic uncertainty.
The Farm Bill is a complex piece of legislation. Check out these resources from CFJC and other organizations that help break it down and describe the 2012 reauthorization process.
View our Farm Bill info-graphic here or below