Ohio Citizen Action is working to ensure the next Farm Bill is one that truly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides broad environmental benefits while increasing equity and justice among those who produce food and agricultural goods and improving the lives of people in rural communities.
The most recent farm bill, passed in 2018, is set to expire on September 30. How our food is grown, who has access to it and at what cost are among the leading issues negotiated in the writing of the farm bill, a comprehensive federal law that governs agricultural and food-related policy in the United States.
What is the farm bill and why does it matter?
The Farm Bill is an omnibus collection of legislation that covers many issues from agriculture, and nutrition to climate and rural development. The Federal Farm Bill which has been around since the New Deal is responsible for feeding much of America and conserving our lands. It must be renewed every five years, with the next renewal set for 2023.
What is in it?
Beyond funding for the agriculture that feeds our nation, the farm bill provides a large portion of the nation’s food programs, such as SNAP. It also includes an incredible amount of funding for rural communities,from everything from community and economic development, expansion of broadband internet, and energy. It regulates the farm industry, providing rules on how agriculture can be conducted in terms of food safety and the safety of air, water and soil. More recently, initiatives geared towards protecting climate and making farming a more environmentally sustainable industry have been added to the Bill.
Why are climate groups trying to change it?
Historically, the Farm Bill has not been a great piece of legislation for the environment. The Midwest Region is unfortunately the leader of carbon emissions across the US, and agriculture is a big contributor. Agriculture, as it is done today, is responsible for nearly 11% of all total carbon emissions. Nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions from the Midwest can be contributed to agriculture. We can do this better!
We climate activists want to ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill truly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides broad environmental benefits while increasing equity and justice among those who produce food and agricultural goods and improving the lives of people in rural communities. These communities have been left behind in the clean energy transition, and we are fighting for a Farm Bill that can bring funding and technical expertise so rural communities can bring clean energy to both farms and communities.
Who are the lawmakers we are targeting?
We are targeting US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and US House Rep Max Miller (R-OH-7). Both are on the Agriculture Committees in their respective bodies, and are key votes for shaping the bills that will soon become the Farm Bill.
Why are asking voters to contact the lawmakers?
There are so many pieces of the Farm Bill that it is important that folks who want to see a greener Farm Bill make their voices heard! Lawmakers in both the House and Senate listen to calls and emails from their constituents to let them know how to prioritize, so every call and email counts!
What does a ‘win’ on the Farm Bill mean?
A successful campaign would result in a 2023 Farm Bill that provides funding to help decarbonize the farm industry and add regulations to protect the air, water and soil in which our food is grown and raised. It would bring funding into rural communities that are still reliant on fossil fuels and help them invest in clean energy. A truly successful Farm Bill campaign would mean a Bill that would make climate change funding a permanent part of Farm Bills going forward, as well as support smaller family farms over large corporations that neglect the land, air and soil of our farmland.