Los Angeles

An encouraging Farm Bill proposal?

Tom Philpott at Grist posts news of a new Farm Bill proposal introduced yesterday by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland). He notes:

First of all, it deals with commodity subsidies boldly: by eliminating them.

The farm bill is broken into ten “titles,” each laying out funding mechanisms for various parts of agriculture and hunger policy. Title I is typically known as the commodity title; it contains the goodies that for years have allowed the agribusiness giants to buy commodities like corn and soy at prices below the cost of production.

DeLauro/Gilchrest would rename Title I the “marketing and economic development title.” This title would provide much-needed investment cash to help farmers access the infrastructure they need to profitably produce food for people living nearby to eat. Among other things, it would provide funds, to be distributed at the state level:
++ To provide marketing or business development assistance to producers;
++ To promote product development or differentiation;
++ To encourage direct-to-consumer market opportunities, such as farmers markets; buy-local campaigns; agri-tourism; on-farm retail market opportunities;
++ To rebuild local and regional food systems and foster agricultural economic development through development of agricultural processing facilities or other infrastructure that enhances or adds value to agricultural products grown within the state.

Tom’s complete post is worth reading, as is the proposal, available as a .pdf that sets out changes on a title-by-title basis.