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Congress Has Three Choices on the Farm Bill: Pass, Renew, or Flake

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's USDA Watch page and our Farm Issues page.

As members of Congress return from their August recess, they have three options when it comes to the farm bill, the multi-billion-dollar bill that shapes everything from food assistance to farm subsidies to farm conservation. They can pass, renew, or flake.

Congress may still pass a new farm bill before the current bill runs out in September, but, frankly, the odds of this happening are awfully low. Though highly flawed, the Senate version of the bill - with its significant but fairly equal cuts to farm subsidies, food stamps, and conservation programs - has begun to look like an impossible dream. And, in the eyes of most sustainable food advocates at least, the version written by the GOP-controlled House is a straight-up nightmare.

As the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) - the organization whose job it is to track every detail of this now-comically cumbersome process - said in a recent post on its site, the bill could pass if "[it] gets debated and voted on the House floor, the Senate and House versions are melded into one, and the melded version makes it past both chambers before September 30" (read: three short weeks from now) or "the Agriculture Committee leaders conference the Senate version with the House Agriculture Committee-passed bill, and the bill gets attached to a must-pass bill (such as a continuing resolution) in September."  


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