by Drew Lindenberger, Political Science major
As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, a large bundle of policy that addresses subsidies for food and agriculture, farm insurance and federal agriculture stimulus, Congress announced a $52 million spending increase to promote local and organic farming. The stimulus includes a large portion for setting up the local industry, and the remaining funds for scientific research in the field of organic and smallscale agriculture.
This kind of attention to more than just large-scale farms by the federal government is a step forward for promoting the local and domestic economies. Much of the money provided will help promote food production in underserved populations and geographical regions, helping alleviate hunger in the most needy areas.
Additionally, the spending rewards those who run farms that support the local food supply. It is crucial to address local agriculture specifically, because unlike large commercial producers, local farms do not export food overseas and out of the domestic market. Keeping local food for local markets cuts down on costs for produce in stores, which benefits the American consumer the most.
The area in which public policy can provide the most benefit to the agriculture sector is through market diversification: different types and sizes of producers can complement each other and maximize production of highquality food for local and national economies. The government can play a big role in making sure these sectors flourish in the modern era.
This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.