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
On Thursday, November 14th, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) sent a letter – along with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress – to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with an urgent call to address the unsustainable levels of limited propane supplies across the Midwest. It is critical to ensure a continued supply of propane to the region as cold temperatures and snow are in the forecast and farmers face one of the most challenging harvest seasons in years.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II today voted in favor of the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill. Following months of bipartisan negotiations between House and Senate conferees, Congressman Cleaver was proud to help pass a comprehensive Farm Bill that maintains funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps producers weather the current trade war, expands rural broadband infrastructure, and provides more certainty to farmers during a volatile farm economy.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II joined over 45 House members in sending a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer supporting an extension of the biodiesel tax credit this year.
The letter can be found here.
It has been a whirlwind through the Fifth District...productive and, as always, quite fun. I visited with farmers in Richmond, MO and organizations concerned about the extended drought occurring in Missouri this summer. They told me about their issues getting water to livestock and the water storage needed to address the problem.
During my trips back and forth to the Fifth District, I’ve heard from many people worried about the tariffs. Farmers and business leaders have expressed their concerns. I’ve visited with farmers in the Higginsville community and invited the Canadian Consul, John Cruickshank, to answer some of their questions.
The issue isn’t going away, in fact, I think there are others out there whom I haven’t heard from. Small contractors and others who help keep these larger industries flowing smoothly are worried about their future because of the tariffs.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II would like to hear from businesses in the Fifth District of Missouri impacted by recently imposed tariffs.
“I want to hear from business organizations, farm operations and workers in the Fifth District who are worried about a trade war or are already feeling the impact of tariffs on their businesses,” said Congressman Cleaver.
June 26, 2018
(Kansas City, MO) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II is pleased to announce a community discussion on trade on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 in Higginsville, MO. The guest speaker for the meeting will be Consul General John Cruikshank from the Canadian Consulate in Chicago, IL. The Consul General will be speaking about NAFTA negotiations and the current trade issues between Canada and the United States.
April 12, 2018
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) discusses the harmful impact of President Trump's trade tariffs on rural Americans across the country.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement upon hearing the news that President Trump has decided to rollback key elements of the current Cuban policies with the United States.
(Washington D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II is extremely concerned about the effects that President Donald Trump’s FY 2018 budget will have on rural Americans and small town citizens.
“This budget is not for rural America and it hurts working families, veterans, and especially low-income families and seniors,” said Congressman Cleaver.