You need a Farm Bill. I need a Farm Bill. We all need a Farm Bill.

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Why does something called a “Farm Bill” impact you? Not only do farmers and ranchers depend on such a bill, but  people in communities across the United States depend on the bill for a host of programs, from risk management and conservation, to nutrition programs. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is leading the charge calling for a Farm Bill that ensures consumers have access to the safest, highest quality and affordable food supply.  We are glad to see the attention the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are devoting to crafting the next Farm Bill. We urge Congressional leadership and the Administration to work together to make the next Farm Bill a priority and ensure ample funding for effective farm and food programs.

Why are we asking for a Farm Bill now? The Farm Bill started in 1933 to help struggling farmers during the Great Depression. Since then, this legislation has become vital for everything from agriculture production, to rural economic development, to food access. Our current bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, expires in September 2018 and its time for the farm and food community to begin advocating for important priorities in nutrition, crop insurance, conservation, and commodity programs.

With the diversity of issues in the Farm Bill, NASDA Members identified seven priorities that are vitally important to agriculture producers and communities across the country. NASDA’s priorities focus on enhanced funding for invasive species programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and the Market Access Program as well as robust funding for research, new tools for animal disease coordination, and investments in voluntary conservation programs. NASDA also calls for a Farm Bill that addresses the challenges producers will have complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Effective programs on these seven priorities will have a huge impact on producers of all sizes and production methods in every corner of the country.

Over the next seven weeks my peers will give a more in-depth look about our individual priorities and why it means something to you. Please be sure to follow us next week as we take a look at how the next Farm Bill can make a significant impact in safeguarding animal health.