The U.S. Senate advanced its version of the 2012 farm bill this week. For Nebraskans who don’t make their living raising crops or livestock, the discussion surrounding the measure’s passage may seem to be of little interest.

Discussion of agriculture safety nets, crop insurance and farm program payments is probably foreign to some, yet the impacts of the farm bill reach far beyond the farm gate and affect many Nebraskans who are generations removed from tilling the soil or raising livestock.

For others, the discussion about the farm bill may bring a different connotation, one defined by the use of tax dollars to subsidize farming operations. While there are many opinions about the farm bill — positive, negative or indifferent — the reality is that it touches many of us in ways we may never have thought about before.