Every five years, the United States Congress works on the nation's most important farm and food policy, known as the Farm Bill. The bill sets the direction for the country's food system, from farm to the fork. Its programs influence what farmers grow and how they grow it, what food is available and where, including for those facing hunger. For the 2023 Farm Bill, IATP will focus on:
The Farm Bill sets the direction for our nation's food system, from farm to the fork.
IATP endorses the following 2023 Farm Bill platform and marker bills.
The Farm Bill Uprooted
Listen to our six-part podcast series on the 2023 Farm Bill.
It is impossible to separate the Farm Bill from the country’s commitment to free trade. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 and the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 set the stage for the 1996 Farm Bill, which stripped away the last vestiges of U.S. supply management programs in order to expand production and better pursue export markets. Ensuing Farm Bills have followed the lead of trade rules, including reforms to the cotton program and eliminating mandatory country of origin labeling for meat. Discover more on trade and the Farm Bill.
It is impossible to separate the Farm Bill from the country’s commitment to free trade.
The Farm Bill is a fundamentally a story about power. Dating back to the 1930s, every five years or so Congress decides in whose interest the Farm Bill will serve. Current Farm Bill debates involve many constituencies beyond just farmers, including hunger advocates, environmentalists, rural leaders, public health supporters and civil rights organizations. The Farm Bill is both derivative and evolving, with important lessons from the past informing the hard policy challenges of the future. Learn more about the history of the Farm Bill.
How did we get here? Crisis by Design was the title of a seminal 1987 article by IATP founder Mark Ritchie and Kevin Ristau that traced the origins of farm policy, starting from the historic pattern of boom and bust cycles of prices through the eventual establishment of parity pricing and supply management that emerged in the 1930s. The original article was written in the midst of the 1980s farm crisis; 30 years later, in 2020, we took a fresh look at the analysis and predictions made in Crisis by Design in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and impending climate catastrophe.
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