May 20, 2024

The Zipline: Farm bill for America’s families

The clock is ticking for the farm bill as it is set to expire at the end of September. Farmers and ranchers aren’t the only ones with eyes on the clock, either.

The American Farm Bureau recently joined with a diverse group of agricultural, environmental, forestry, wildlife, nutrition and hunger advocates to launch the “Farm Bill for America’s Families: Sustaining Our Future” campaign.

Together, we are calling for an effective 2023 farm bill this year, and we’re inviting others to join us. We know the farm bill matters for all Americans, and we cannot afford a delay.

At Farm Bureau, we are committed to ensuring that the 2023 farm bill provides the tools and resources all farmers and ranchers need. Our advocacy work is already in full gear.

It’s been all hands on deck, across state and national staff and grassroots members and leaders, in laying the groundwork for the next farm bill.

And you better believe that we will be studying the new bill backwards and forwards to ensure it aligns with our grassroots policies. When we speak as the united “Voice of Agriculture,” we make a real difference.

We also know that when we lock arms across agriculture and beyond, lawmakers take extra notice. Finding common ground with a diverse group of stakeholders is truly powerful in showing everyone how important the farm bill is for our nation.

With 260 members of Congress who have never worked on a farm bill and 71% of adults saying they don’t know much, if anything, about the bill, now is the time to engage with consumers, leaders and lawmakers alike.

We need all Americans to understand the broad impact the farm bill has — and to urge their members of Congress to pass an effective 2023 farm bill.

That’s why “Farm Bill for America’s Families: Sustaining Our Future” is highlighting how the farm bill is critical to food security, job creation, conservation, risk management and addressing hunger.

The farm bill, as I’ve said often, could really be called a food and farm bill because of its far-reaching impact.

Farmers know firsthand how important farm bill programs like crop insurance are to keeping farms running through tough times like weather disasters, high inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Risk management programs have an impact well beyond the farm, too, as they help ensure we can keep growing the food, fiber and fuel all Americans depend on.

More Americans are recognizing the important role our food supply plays in national security, given the supply chain and global disruptions we’ve seen like the war in Ukraine.

Of course, the farm bill covers a lot more than crop insurance. Funding for the farm bill is comprehensive — from voluntary conservation programs to advancing agricultural research, this legislation is an investment in the future of our food system and the health of our natural resources.

Through farm bill nutrition programs, farmers also play a role in providing 9 billion meals every year to those facing hunger. Farmers and ranchers aren’t just growing food, either; we’re growing jobs in rural, suburban and urban communities alike.

Did you know that U.S. agriculture supports 46 million jobs across the food and agriculture sectors? When you consider there are just over 2 million farms in this country, that yield is amazing.

All this just skims the surface when it comes to the impact of the farm bill. We hope this campaign will engage a broad audience to highlight how the farm bill impacts their families.

It’s important for everyone to understand how it promotes the well-being of all Americans by securing our supply of safe, sustainable food, fiber and fuel.

I invite you to learn more about the campaign at FarmBillForAmericasFamilies.com, and we welcome more groups to join us — from our state and county Farm Bureaus, to other commodity groups, to food banks and environmental groups.

Congress needs to hear from all of us, loud and clear, how important the farm bill is for all Americans.

Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Georgia, is the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.