Date of Award

Summer 6-11-2018

Document Type

Project

Advisor(s)

Meredith Niles

David Conner

Sarah Heiss

Project Description

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of laws and programs that dictates United States policies across the food system. While it may seem that a farm bill is only related to agriculture, this legislation, in reality, includes a broad set of policies on food production, nutrition assistance, rural community development, research, the environment, international trade, and more. Often known as a farm and food bill, the legislation impacts food systems stakeholders, including those who farm, live in a rural community, and even those who eat food—so that is everyone.

Considering the widespread impacts of the Farm Bill, it is important for citizens to share their voice and opinions as our congressional representatives redraft the next version of food and agricultural policy. Congress creates a new Farm Bill approximately every five years. Before the bill is signed into law, Congress looks to the communities whom they represent across the country to express their thoughts on the current state of the food system.

Federal policy has implications for every state. The federal Farm Bill has vast impacts in Vermont. Funding for various programs ranging from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known in state as 3Squares Vermont), rural broadband support, farm to school grants, sustainable agriculture research and extension, beginning farmer programs, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)—to name a few.

The purpose of this guide is to help Vermonters understand the Farm Bill, what Farm Bill advocacy looks like in Vermont, and a synopsis of ways that Vermonters can get involved in the policy development process and have their voices heard. This guide is politically neutral, and does not seek to advise readers on specific issues for which they should advocate. With the input of various Vermont stakeholder organizations from across the state in addition to congressional staff members, this guide serves to support individuals throughout Vermont to get involved in Farm Bill policy discussions.

Project Approach

Policy

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