December 21, 2012
One of the hard parts about working on federal policy is that it can be easy to get wrapped up in policy details and forget that decisions — and indecisions — made in Washington affect people and communities throughout the nation. So when Congress decided to let the current farm bill expire on October 1, we wanted to move beyond the alphabet-soup of programs and policy issues that we normally blog about and highlight the impact of inaction on farmers, consumers, and communities across the country. Our “What’s at Stake” series was born.
Through the series, we asked, what does an expired farm bill mean for beginning farmers? Organic farmers? Socially disadvantaged farmers? What impact does inaction have on economic growth in rural areas? On economic opportunity at farmers markets and for family run farm businesses?
The answer was clear. Inaction on the farm bill leaves numerous programs that directly lead to job creation in rural areas, access to healthier foods, and farming opportunities for many farmers high and dry.
The stakes were high when we started our 10-week “What’s at Stake” series. Given Congressional inaction on a number of items, including the farm bill, the stakes just keep climbing.