Virginia Farm Bureau pushes for Farm Bill to pass

Published 8:04 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has joined a national campaign highlighting the necessity of the federal farm bill’s reauthorization — a message with heightened urgency as the expiration date approaches.

Spearheaded by American Farm Bureau Federation, 20 groups representing agriculture, forestry, wildlife, nutrition and hunger advocates launched the “Farm Bill for America’s Families: Sustaining Our Future” campaign to raise awareness of the bill’s profound impact on the well-being of all Americans.    

“Virginia Farm Bureau is proud to be a member of the ‘Farm Bill for America’s Families’ campaign,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “It is critical that Congress passes a 2023 Farm Bill before the end of the year.

“To make that happen, we must communicate its impact on not only farmers, but every American, our economy and the environment.” 

A recent AFBF Morning Consult survey found that over 70% of surveyed adults had not seen, read or heard anything about the farm bill. The survey found that, upon learning of its importance, 57% would be more likely to support their member of Congress if they voted to reauthorize the bill.

The campaign highlights the farm bill’s importance in five core areas: job creation, food security, conservation, risk management and addressing hunger.

Farm bill programs ensure the survival of a robust food and agriculture industry, which supports 46 million jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

The farm bill’s investment in agricultural research and conservation programs allows agriculturalists to lead the way in environmental stewardship. Farmers and ranchers have voluntarily enrolled 140 million acres in conservation programs — equal to the size of California and New York combined.

Managing risk on the farm is crucial in keeping food on U.S. tables — especially in the face of weather disasters, high supply costs and inflationary pressures. Farm bill risk management programs are essential to helping farmers survive these ever-changing circumstances.

The farm bill also helps provide food for those experiencing food insecurity. Nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, help supply more than 9 billion meals annually to 21 million U.S. households.

By supporting economic and rural development, the farm bill additionally strengthens rural communities and small businesses. It also supports rural infrastructure like broadband, which is critical to equitable education and health care.

Reauthorized every five years, the 2018 Farm Bill is set to expire Sept. 30.

Without reauthorization, farming and food security in the U.S. would be heavily impacted: ending some commodity support programs; reverting others to their outdated framework; and stripping the opportunity to modernize key programs.

“The farm bill provides the framework for risk management tools, farm programs and conservation initiatives used by farmers, but it goes far beyond that to impact every American,” Pryor said. “That’s why American Farm Bureau took the lead to build such a diverse coalition of advocates—all working together to help tell the story of the farm bill’s importance.”