Autumn in farm country brings with it the roar of combines lumbering across America’s farm fields. It’s harvest season and across the land, farmers are hard at work bringing in the bounty of what, in many areas, amounts to a “pretty good year.” The farm policy landscape, on the other hand, has yielded little, thanks to the frosty bite of American politics.
Because of congressional inability to reach a consensus, the nation’s farm bill has expired – an occurrence that might have been lost in the hubbub of the larger government shutdown. This is not the first sign of farm bill trouble. It would have expired a year ago had Congress not simply extended it for another year due to disagreements and partisan paralysis.
Gone with the farm bill is the basic, no-frills safety net for farm families. Gone is the publicly recognized good of government-backed food security for our nation. Gone is the direct link between the people who farm and those Americans who feel the daily pang of hunger.