So far, the House has passed the 2012 agriculture funding bill, with lots of cuts.
These cuts include (mandatory) conservation funding, and all of the Federal funding to my favorite organization in the industry, ATTRA (The Sustainable Agriculture Information Service). Attra could really use an angel funder, it’s information is unique and usable and the Federal government is not going to support it any more. Other cuts are in total mandatory spending, no surprise there, but for a complete rundown on the cuts to conservation, rural development, and farm-to-table programs, NSAC did a writeup here.
The farm bill as the Senate writes it is not due to come up until 2012, but already it’s looking like there will be a lot of systemic changes that it brings about. The biggest thing is that the factory farm system is barely financially viable, and so cutting the support programs of farmers will get them to consider changing methods finally! Generally these days, no one in any industry can count on real help from the Federal government. The food should sell itself, a transaction not requiring the federal government. The farm system shouldn’t actually need free credit loans either, a dangerous habit to get into to support your technology habit for the farm. The Federal government may have a role in supporting alternative energy on farms via the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Some other research and dissemination and extension programs will also continue.
Anyways, keep an eye on this blog and @ my tumblr to find out what the progress is, however the farm bill is still a long way out. In general, don’t listen to anyone saying they need support because even 250,000 petitions for Attra in a day didn’t speak to the Republicans. Washington simply needs to find a way to do everything without spending money.
Good for all of us to do sometimes.