“We must work to pass a farm bill in 2012 because our nation’s farmers and ranchers deserve a measure of certainty. Farmers require a safety net that works effectively, and they need access to tools that help them be good stewards of our natural resources,” says Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT). “Those people less fortunate during these economic times deserve a helping hand so they don’t go hungry, while our nation as a whole needs the security which effective food policies and programs can bring.”
American Farmland Trust and over 60 organizations have sent a letter echoing Scholl’s comments to the Senate and House leadership of the agriculture committees. “We, the undersigned, have heard calls for an extension of current law. We ask you to reject these calls for delay and aggressively act to ensure that a new, comprehensive bill is passed this year,” states the letter. “A temporary extension of current policy creates tremendous uncertainty...”
In the difficult fiscal climate, Scholl notes, “It is unclear exactly what budget cuts will be made and the implications for farms, farmland and food, but it’s perfectly clear that agriculture will have to do more with less.”
This spring, however, agriculture has an opportunity for better policies and programs. “I believe this farm bill can be transformational. Our country must make big decisions about the nature of government and how it will spend our money, and agriculture and food policy will be no exception,” says Scholl.
“I am excited about the prospects for getting one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress will consider this year done. Protecting farm and ranch land and keeping farmers on their land; providing healthy and safe food; and addressing environmental concerns are the top priorities of a majority of Americans—priorities that we believe can be a part of a farm bill this year,” Scholl concludes.