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Chopping up the Farm Bill

(article, Culinate staff)

It didn't get a lot of press, but in early September, the Senate chopped a big chunk of dough out of the conservation budget for the 2012 Farm Bill. As the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition reported, the Senate Appropriations Committee reduced the Farm Bill's mandatory conservation programs by 12 percent, or $700 million, continuing a pattern of slashing from 2011, in which half a billion dollars were cut. 

bq. This is better than the over $1 billion cut by the House bill, but still a huge cut. Conservation and renewable energy were the only farm bill mandatory programs cut. Commodity, crop insurance, and export subsidies were left unscathed, as was the SNAP or food stamp program.

The NSAC noted that Congress has a pattern of shuffling food funding depending on current priorities; right now, those priorities include food safety and food stamps, not farmland protection. And having to pick and choose between important programs ain't fair to anyone. 

Up next this fall: which of the various cuts by the House and Senate will actually become law.