Farm Bill (aka the Food Bill)
When someone starts to talk to me about the Farm Bill, I tell them that it is really a Food Bill. It is not just about farmers but about feeding America - and should be of interest to all Americans. Farm policy ensures that farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to produce an abundant food supply and consumers nationwide have access to healthy, affordable food. The Farm Bill provides financial help for farmers when times are tough, continues agriculture’s longstanding interest in stewardship and conservation, and encourages and promotes continued expanded trade. On September 30, 2013 the original Farm Bill expired leaving many farmers, ranchers and 5th Congressional District constituents in limbo as they tried to plan for the future. Fortunately, after extended negotiations, the uncertainty that many Americans were forced to endure came to an end. On January 29, 2014 the House of Representatives voted 251-166 to pass a reauthorization of the Farm Bill with my support, and the President signed the bill into law on February 7th, 2014. This Farm Bill includes Supplemental Livestock Disaster Programs to protect farmers and ranchers facing numerous difficulties outside their control, trade promotion programs, increased access to healthy and local foods and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to put food on the table for many low-income families.
Our democracy was built on compromise. While I would have preferred it to come sooner, I am glad that my colleagues and I were able to come to a bipartisan solution to this problem that affected millions of Americans in a multitude of ways. The Farm Bill reauthorization included funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), giving certainty to the many families who worried about where they would find their next meal. Funding for SNAP programs, food banks, and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program will expand efforts to increase access to fruits and vegetables for seniors, students, and families struggling to put food on the table.
In 2012, Missouri farmers were devastated by drought, losing much of their livestock and forage crops. I introduced a bill, H.R. 1454, to provide them with retroactive disaster assistance. Thankfully the Agriculture Committees heard the concerns that I, and other Midwestern lawmakers raised on this issue. For the first time, the Farm Bill provides a permanent baseline for livestock disaster programs, and makes that assistance retroactive to 2011. These and many other provisions will help ensure future stability in American communities.
According to the Census Bureau, nearly 50 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010. Most importantly, this means that 13.6 million children and 6.2 million seniors are struggling to exist on a daily basis. It is imperative that we not take nutrition benefits from Americans that are struggling to stay out of poverty and to feed themselves and their family. Additionally, nearly 46 million Americans rely on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Programs such as SNAP and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) stimulate local economies while keeping American citizens nourished and out of poverty. Every $1.00 of federal SNAP benefits generates nearly double that amount in local economic activity. I will continue to fight for the well-being of American citizens, so I support continued funding for such programs in the Farm Bill and in yearly appropriations.
Agriculture Disaster Assistance
I am proud to have introduced new legislation (H.R. 1454) to help area farmers, ranchers, and producers recover from last year’s record drought. This legislation would make critically important supplemental agriculture disaster assistance available. The 2012 drought in Missouri, and much of the nation, was devastating for livestock producers, forage producers, and tree and specialty crop farmers, and was compounded by the expiration of the USDA agriculture disaster programs. My legislation would provide retroactive relief for those producers. I am thankful that the Agriculture Committee heard my and other Midwestern lawmakers’ concerns and included language in the farm bill reauthorization to solve this problem.
Local & Regional Food Systems & Food Deserts
Local food systems have the potential to yield significant benefits to the economy and create jobs. According to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a modest amount of public funding for between 100-500 farmers markets could create as many as 13,500 jobs over a five-year period. By providing further investment in local and regional food systems, we can bolster agriculture and put people back to work.
According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 13.5 million people live in a food desert; they live more than a mile from a grocery store or large supermarket in an urban area or more than 10 miles away in a rural area. With support for local and regional food systems and programs such as the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the Let’s Move Campaign, we can support local farmers, provide healthy food choices for families, and help our children grow up healthier.
More on Agriculture
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-05) and Congressman Sam Graves, (R-06) collaborated to advance four major flood control projects in the Kansas City metro: Kansas City Levees, Turkey Creek Basin, Dodson Industrial District, and Swope Park Industrial Area. The two sent a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure urging the committee to include authorization for these projects in the upcoming Water Resources Development Act, (WRDA).
On the Farm and in Committee
Congressman Cleaver joins Commissioner Bowen at Garrett Riekhof’s
WHERE IS THE GOOD OLD-FASHIONED HARD WORK?
FOR THIS FATHER’S DAY
This Father’s Day – I hope for my daughter.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II announces that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Secretary Tom Vilsack have provided the flexibility previously requested within the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). In a letter sent last month, Congressman Cleaver asked the Secretary to provide support for those Missouri livestock producers applying for aid after the devastating losses suffered during the 2012 drought.
This week U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver sent a letter to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, requesting flexibility within the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). He urged the Secretary to provide support for those livestock producers in Missouri applying for aid after the devastating losses suffered during the 2012 drought.
A BIG VOTE – AND A BIG MOMENT
Missouri’s Fifth District - It has been a long time coming, but today Congress passed a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill (H.R. 2642) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 251 to 166.
“This is a critically important moment,” said U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II. “After almost two years of fighting for this, we finally have a Farm Bill that will provide security for farmers and ranchers in Missouri’s Fifth District, a framework for future investment, and a continued focus on food.”