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LINCOLN TO LOCAL Four reasons America needs a strong farm bill Though few realize it, urban, suburban and rural Americans alike rely on a fully-funded, timely and effective farm bill. o matter if the road leading to your house is paved or gravel, or if you live in an urban core or out in the suburbs, the farm bill impacts your life both directly and indirectly. From farmers to office workers to school children – and everyone in between – the legislation plays a significant role in the daily lives of Americans. A comprehensive legislative packaged typically renewed by congress every four years, time is drawing near for the next farm bill to be discussed, shaped and passed. As talks about the farm bill heat up, understanding the impact this legislation has on each and every American is vital.

1. When farmers succeed, everyone succeeds

Agriculture is the backbone of the American economy. Farmers and ranchers today harness our natural resources and combine them with technology and personal care to grow more food than ever before. Without access to this nutritious and affordable food, nothing else matters. But without a doubt, farming is a risky business. The entire livelihoods of Oklahoma farmers are at the mercy of weather including drought, wildfires, floods, tornados and hail. Increasing Oklahoma farmers’ risk is the fact that the U.S. farm economy is at a 12-year low, with low commodity prices, declining farm income and rising farm loan debt. To continue producing safe, healthy and affordable food in our state, Oklahoma farmers use critical farm payment programs

14 — Oklahoma Country

from the farm bill, which provide a cushion when faced with poor yields or low prices. Farmers also rely on the farm bill’s federal crop insurance and disaster assistance programs to protect themselves and their families when adversity strikes. The farm bill not only helps farmers mitigate risk, but it also helps farmers grow and compete both at home and internationally. Beginning farmers, racial and ethnic minority farmers and women producers can receive specialty loans to start, improve and expand farms of their own. Young people, including 4-H and FFA members, also receive financial assistance for educational agricultural projects through programs within the farm bill. International trade is crucial to U.S. farmers and ranchers, as more than 20 percent of total agricultural production is exported according to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Farmers must have access to overseas markets, especially during a challenging farm economy. The Market Access Program authorized by the farm bill helps U.S. farmers compete on a global scale by promoting American agricultural commodities overseas.

2. Provide healthy and affordable food to all Americans

Americans as a whole spend only 10 percent of their income on food – the lowest in the world – thanks in part to the farm programs in the farm bill. Nutrition programs made up nearly 80 percent of the 2014

Oklahoma Country – Spring 2018  

Oklahoma Country is the official magazine of Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Our spring issue highlights the importance of the state agriculture sales...

Oklahoma Country – Spring 2018  

Oklahoma Country is the official magazine of Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Our spring issue highlights the importance of the state agriculture sales...