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2023 Farm Bill: Where Are We?



The Reauthorization Deadline for the 2023 Farm Bill has come and gone, so how does that affect the Farmers, Food Workers, and Consumers in Our Region? What can we do during this time to advocate for a regionally resilient food and farm system that aligns with our priorities?

Where we've been: Food Policy Farm Bill Advocacy Campaign


The Food Policy Council organized a Farm Bill Letter Writing Campaign, resulting in network members sending letters to the eleven Congress members within our tristate region. Along with the letter-writing campaign, the FPC hosted a Farm Bill Train-the-Trainer event to build capacity and confidence among our network members when advocating for the Farm Bill.


This all culminated in the opportunity for our former Community Connections Coordinator, Amanda Lukas, to speak at the Ohio Food Policy Network's Summit on October 20, 2023 during the panel "The Next Five Years: Impact of the 2023 Farm Bill on Ohioans" with other state and local experts on the impact of the Farm Bill, including OEFFA's Policy Director Milo Petruziello, My Grow Connect's Founder Jennifer Lumpkin, and the Ohio Association of Food Banks' Director of Nutrition Policy and Programs Hope Lane-Gavin.


Ohio Food Policy Network's Panel on the Farm Bill


USDA's Rural Development State Director Jonathan McCracken was the Farm Bill Panel moderator. He took the opportunity to ground the attendees in the historical background and process of the Farm Bill, which included the current status (as of October 2023) of the Farm Bill.


 

Above are the panelists from the OFPN Farm Bill panel. From left to right: USDA's Rural Development State Director Jonathan McCracken, OEFFA's Policy Director Milo Petruziello, Food Policy Council's Former Community Connections Coordinator Amanda Lukas,  the Ohio Association of Food Banks' Director of Nutrition Policy and Programs Hope Lane-Gavin, and My Grow Connect's Founder Jennifer Lumpkin.
Above are the panelists from the OFPN Farm Bill panel. From left to right: USDA's Rural Development State Director Jonathan McCracken, OEFFA's Policy Director Milo Petruziello, Food Policy Council's Former Community Connections Coordinator Amanda Lukas, the Ohio Association of Food Banks' Director of Nutrition Policy and Programs Hope Lane-Gavin, and My Grow Connect's Founder Jennifer Lumpkin.

 

State Director McCracken then led the panelists through a question-guided discussion on the significance of the Farm Bill from the state, regional, and hyperlocal perspectives. Each panelist brought a unique perspective and knowledge of expertise, which highlighted how the Farm Bill impacts farmers, other food workers, and consumers in the state of Ohio.


Targeted questions included what priorities the panelists and their organizations have for the Farm Bill now and in the future. The FPC was able to spotlight the work of the Council and Committee members over the 2023 summer in creating our Farm Bill priorities and advocating with federal legislators. OEFFA, the Ohio Association of Food Banks, and the FPC were also able to spotlight specific Marker Bills that support the priorities of each organization.


What is next for 2024 and Beyond?


The OFPN Farm Bill Panel ended with a call-to-action. The work of food system advocates around the Farm Bill is not over, neither for the next reauthorization (projected for 2024) nor during the five years after the reauthorization. Our country faces unprecedented times in light of the current federal political climate, and food systems will feel the impact!


The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and OEFFA are closely following what is next for the Farm Bill and the projected impact of the decisions.


The 2018 Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2023. NSAC did a blog post here on what an expiration and an extension mean for Farm Bill programs and the USDA. On November 15, 2023, Congress did extend the 2018 Farm Bill funding. Read more here from NSAC on the extension.


The federal government avoided (temporarily) a government shutdown by extending government funding through the end of 2023, which included agriculture appropriations funding. Many farm and food system advocates hope that the Farm Bill will be reauthorized in early 2024 to avoid additional extensions and uncertainty. We call on our FPC network to continue following and advocating for a Farm Bill that builds a resilient regional food system!

 

💡 Learn about opportunities to get involved with Green Umbrella and the Food Policy Council!

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