Farm Bill Really a Food Bill

Work continues on a new bill to replace the 2014 Farm Bill and many people who are familiar with it will tell you that labeling it a farm bill is a misnomer. Joe Outlaw is Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.

“If you talk to anyone in Washington on the ag committees, all they want to talk about, which is rightly so, is the impact on their consumers because ultimately, all this protection is done, we spend this money to protect two million farmers across the United States. If that was the only reason, we probably wouldn’t do it.”

Outlaw says the term “Farm Bill” is misleading.

“But the real reason is that this is a food affordability bill, not just a Farm Bill. It’s a food affordability bill, but at the same time, it’s a food availability bill, meaning that we’ve been very fortunate in this country not to go to the grocery store and have to find out that there’s no food there.”

Outlaw is quick to point out that the amount of money spent protecting farmers is one half of one percent of the government’s annual budget. He believes that’s a small price to pay to be able to insure that our country can feed itself.

“We have, without a doubt, and most people in Washington say it much smoother than I do, the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in this world, and that’s what we’re striving for with all this legislation. We spend a little bit of money. We do a lot of good.”

Outlaw urges people to give some thought about where their food comes from.

“You see a farmer and they’re always blocking the roads, driving down the road on their tractor, moving their equipment to the next place. Instead of being mad about it slowing your day down, think about, take a second to think about what they have done, that they are basically putting food on the table for you, making it available.”