Four years ago, the debate about a new farm bill seemed to get a lot more coverage. It was in the news all the time. This year, it’s almost an afterthought in the press. If the New York Times and their urban brethren have some space left over after covering the bizarre Republican Cirque du Soleil scramble for the nomination, they’ll squeeze in a word or two about one of the most important issues floating around the dysfunctional family life that’s Washington, DC.

NYT, that often pompous journal of urban ranching (Got a tomato plant sprouting out of a milk carton in your uptown apartment kitchen window? You’re an urban rancher.) just published some suggestions from people who hope they have a stake in the issue. Their short commentaries, all based on their personal prejudices, seek to put some form to the massive and formless thing that poses as an intelligent farm bill discussion inside the Beltway these days.