By Elisha Greeley Smith, Center for Rural Affairs, email@example.com
Many rural people do not think about the farm bill, assuming it affects only farmers. But the farm bill affects all of America.
The farm bill has, for decades, been the primary federal support mechanism for rural America. But it is not working.
Unlimited farm program payments are fueling consolidation by driving up land costs and driving smaller farm operations out of business. Small main street businesses that once served those farms are disappearing as a result.
As those businesses disappear there are fewer jobs and the jobs that are available often pay low wages. Current rural policy is forcing the next generation of rural residents to settle for lower incomes, fewer assets and a diminished quality of life.
Now is the time to reach out to Congress. With the New Year comes a new Congress, new Agriculture Committee members and new chairmen; just as the writing of the farm bill begins in earnest. The 2007 farm bill will impact every American - by affecting our farms and ranches; our soil and water; our rural communities; our taxes and the food we eat.
The farm bill must invest in the future of rural America through proven, effective strategies such as entrepreneurial development, conservation, community development, encouraging new farmers, and building assets in rural areas.
If you think that the farm bill is worth caring about, go to http://www.cfra.org/ for information about our farm bill proposals and please get involved. Strengthening rural America strengthens all of America.
Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree, firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Rural Affairs
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