Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Oct 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

SamFarrNewCongress did not taken action on the Federal Farm Bill before its Sept. 30 expiration date. What does this mean for Americans, and what can we expect to happen on the Farm Bill front after the election in November?

One of the biggest failures of the do-nothing Republican-led Congress was allowing the Farm Bill to expire. The Farm Bill is a vital piece of legislation that helps regulate the prices of the food we grow. This is a bill that doesn’t just benefit the Midwest states but has value for the entire nation, including families here in California.

For farmers all across the country, the Farm Bill means stable crop prices so they are able to stay in business, even during difficult growing seasons. For the average person, that means reliable prices at the grocery store, making it easier to feed our families.  

In recent years, the Farm Bill began to make investments in organic and specialty crop research so that we could efficiently grow healthy food for everyone. This was a huge benefit to the Central Coast because, for the first time, the crops grown here were made a priority when developing our national food policy.

Finally, through nutrition programs like SNAP, the Farm Bill helps put food on everyone’s table—even if they have trouble affording it. Through these programs, the Farm Bill does not just provide sound food policy but instead helps us meet our moral obligations to low-income households.

Unfortunately, the Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30. Despite passing in the Senate, the House Republican leadership wouldn't bring the bill up for a vote. When Congress recessed for the election, they left the legislation in limbo until the lame duck, or even possibly until the next, Congress.

So what does it mean now that Congress just left the Farm Bill sitting on the table? In theory, some fairly scary things.  

Our food policy has reverted back to the troubling times of the 1930s and ’40s. The average family will begin to feel the effects at their dinner table. Without the moderating effect of the Farm Bill, we may be looking at a spike in grocery bills. For instance, the price of milk is poised to sky rocket, which is something no family wants to face in these tough economic times.   

Here on the Central Coast, without a Farm Bill, all of the recent gains made in specialty and organic crop research will be lost. We will lose things like the Market Access Program which helps us sell our crops overseas.

Additionally, there are provisions in the current bill sitting in Congress that will increase the funding for organics and specialty crops beyond their previous levels. More importantly, it makes their funding permanent, meaning for the first time money for the crops grown here on the Central Coast will still be there in future Farm Bills. This is a Farm Bill that works for all farmers and not just one that benefits growers in the Midwest. If Congress fails to act, none of those gains will be realized.

But there is still a chance to salvage the Farm Bill and reverse some of the damage created by the Republicans’ inaction. As I said earlier, the Democratic-controlled Senate has already done its job. In the Republican-controlled House, Speaker John Boehner has said he will hold a vote when Congress returns after the election. For farmers and families on the Central Coast, I hope he holds to his word.

Congress must complete its work on the Farm Bill to provide certainty for Central Coast farmers and to help provide food for everyone throughout this country. The price is too high if we again fail to act.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher