(Indianapolis) – April 18, 2023 – According to a recent study by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), 71% of adults have not seen, read or heard about the farm bill. If you don’t live on a farm, why should you care?
“The farm bill is the most significant piece of legislation that affects farmers across the country and right here in Indiana,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “However, the impact extends beyond the farm by protecting our nation’s food supply, providing access to nutrition for families facing hunger, advancing conservation efforts and spurring innovation through agricultural research.”
Everyone depends on the success of American agriculture so it’s important for farmers and ranchers to be supported by strong farm programs as they face down weather disasters, high supply costs and inflationary pressures. “Managing risk is critical to keep food on our tables,” Kron added.
The current farm bill was set in 2018 and will expire in September of this year. Every five years lawmakers have the opportunity to create new legislation to update the programs included so they are relevant to current economic conditions. One of those programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Early projections show that we’re looking at a $1.5 trillion farm bill, and SNAP benefits are $1.2 trillion of that total,” said Brantley Seifers, INFB national affairs coordinator. “This is not just a farm bill, it’s a food bill, and SNAP benefits go to about 290,000 families in Indiana. The impact of that one single aspect of the bill is huge.”
Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, can attest to the importance of the nutrition title and says that working with INFB on the farm bill is essential.
“The farm bill is a fantastic opportunity for farmers and nutrition advocates to work together for good policy that connects consumers to the farmers producing our food supply,” Weikert Bryant said. “The programs in the nutrition title impact every county in the nation--urban, rural, and suburban--with programs for families needing extra help making their food purchasing dollar stretch in today’s economy.”
If the farm bill expires without new legislation in place or if programs are not granted an extension by Congress, the bill’s programs would revert to how they looked in 1949. This helps drive the urgency farmers and Congress feel about passing this legislation in a timely manner.
As those conversations ramp up, U.S. representatives and senators from Indiana have been visiting their home districts this spring to hear from their constituents. INFB partnered with Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance to host farm bill listening sessions across the state. These listening sessions gave Hoosier farmers and ag professionals an opportunity to discuss the upcoming legislation and advocate for programs utilized on the farm, such as crop insurance and conservation programs.
“We will continue to meet with our elected officials throughout these next few months to advocate for a comprehensive bill that benefits all Hoosiers,” Seifers added. “If Indiana consumers are concerned about programs covered in the farm bill, they are encouraged to contact their legislators sooner rather than later.”
About Indiana Farm Bureau: For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has protected and enhanced the future of agriculture and our communities. As the state’s largest general farm organization, INFB works diligently to cultivate a thriving agricultural ecosystem to strengthen the viability of Indiana agriculture. Learn more at INFB.org.