Yes, the Farm Bill is one of those bits of legislation that reminds us of the truism that you don’t want to see laws or sausage being made. (And just in case we’re willing, Congress makes sure we don’t watch too closely.)
I suppose if I were in Congress, I’d hold my nose and vote for it, as most of the Kansas lawmakers (Hutchinson News) did. The quotes from some of the lawmakers in that Hutchinson News story, however, show how much hogwash is part of the bill. I’m a farmer’s granddaughter and very sympathetic with farmers, but don’t break my heart over cutting payments to those whose income exceeds $750,000, especially while commodity prices are at record highs.
Meanwhile, the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (PDF) summarizes the good things in the bill, which President Bush says he’ll veto because it doesn’t cut direct payments enough, a stance that appears entirely out of character for the president and, therefore, makes me very suspicious.
For commentary by people better-informed than I, check out these:
- U.S. Food Policy’s Parke Wilde, who gives an overview of the final bill.
- Ethicurean Elanor Starmer, who favored passage and is highly suspicious of Bush.
- The Slow Cook Ed Bruske, who opposed passage.
- Gristmill’s Tom Philpott, who provided some good analysis augmented by useful comments.
At this stage, there isn’t much left for us as individuals to do about this Farm Bill, I guess, other than let our lawmakers know how we feel about a veto if that occurs. One thing we need to be sure of, though, is that we don’t wait around to gear up for the next Farm Bill in four years. We all need to make our voices and our dollars heard in our daily living, our political and charitable contributions and, yes, in our communications with lawmakers. They seem frequently to forget that they work for us, but that’s just because we let them. We have to stop letting them forget.