There was no Farm Bill at this time a year ago, as Congressional dysfunction led to the legislation’s expiration. Congress rallied in December 2012 and extended the Farm Bill for nine months, minus nearly $500 million in crucial funding for organic, local and beginning farmers. The recent budget impasse in Washington shutdown all USDA farm credit and conservation compliance activities and forced the Department to cancel the National Organic Standards Board meeting scheduled for Louisville, KY.
With this history of achievement, it takes a healthy streak of optimism to get fired up about this week’s Congressional negotiations to renew the Farm Bill and pass a 2014 budget. OFRF and its national network of partner organizations will stay in the thick of those deliberations, though I personally look forward to a more relaxed atmosphere inspecting organic farms across Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.