“On the surface, the bill does include some discretionary funding for things like organic farming research and support for beginning farmers. But that’s just it. It’s discretionary, not mandatory (like the direct payments), making it highly likely that it will disappear in the annual appropriations process.”
Is something always better than nothing? In the case of the farm bill extension that was buried in Tuesday’s last minute fiscal cliff deal, maybe not.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls the deal — which will provide $5 billion in subsidies to industrial-scale corn, soy, and wheat farmers while short-changing local food, organics, and beginning farmers, and decimating on-farm conservation efforts — “deeply flawed.” The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), meanwhile, has referred to it as “blatantly anti-reform,” while the Union of Concerned Scientists calls it “a giant step backward” and “a blow to farmers who want to grow healthy foods and the consumers who want to buy them.” The National Young Farmers Coalition was also “incredibly disappointed with the results.”
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