2018 is a Farm Bill year in politics: what does that mean to farmers?
This piece of legislation is reviewed every five years, and many of the funding for future agricultural programs is established within it. The figure above displays how the last revision of the bill was largely focused on nutrition, and it appears that nutrition is again a large source of controversy on this year's revision, namely the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
SNAP is what determines the allocation of government distributed food stamps, and the discourse over whether or not to make cuts in the program has largely kept the bill from moving forward. There is a largely Republican movement to shift funding away from welfare dependency and towards supporting struggling commodity industries. The efforts to better allocate the nutrition funds that are currently holding four fifths of the USDA's budget could be used towards dairy and cotton producers, research grants, small farm start ups, and many other relevant causes.
It's important to remember that California provides roughly half of the nation's fruits, veggies and nuts, in addition to about 20% of the milk. Without support for growers, especially with the current inconsistent market trends, there would be a huge shortage of commodities nationwide, and SNAP might not even be possible in the first place. Click HERE for more information on what the Farm Bill is and what it will entail.