Before leaving for their August recess, the House of Representatives passed a farm bill. The Senate takes up the legislation when it returns in September. To most people engaged in the debate about the substance and priorities of the farm bill, the legislation on the table is, with some small modifications, more or less business as usual’and not the wholesale reform many have called for. Stay tuned as the bill nears completion. At least there are more ways to do that now.
From mainstream media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR to Web-based sites like the Huffington Post, to agriculture industry journals like Feedstuffs, the 2007 farm bill has made news, probably like no farm bill before. (See media coverage of the Brighter Green/Farm Sanctuary white paper on the bill in the News section.) That’s good . . . although (there’s always an although it seems with this kind of issue) not many of the reports delved deep into the issue of subsidies and how they play out across the food chain. I didn’t hear much of anything about the connection between subsidies for feed drops making factory farming not only economically viable but inevitable.
In August, the coverage of farm bill issues has been pretty thin, although local food and organic foods continue to capture much ink, bandwidth and bytes. An article about the many uses for the season’s harvest of tomatoes has topped the New York Times‘ most emailed articles list for days. I haven’t read the story, but I can attest that the heirloom tomatoes provided by my local CSA have been fantastic . . . with more to come.