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Survey finds many Americans believe farm bill passage is a matter of national security

Survey finds many Americans believe farm bill passage is a matter of national security

WASHINGTON—Americans haven’t forgotten the days of empty grocery store shelves, and a majority recognize the necessity of reauthorizing the 2023 Farm Bill, according to a recent poll from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Morning Consult survey examines the public’s awareness of the farm bill, its impact and their funding priorities for it.

Passed roughly every five years, the federal farm bill covers programs such as crop insurance and support for sustainable practices for farmers, and healthy food access for low-income families.

Over half of adults surveyed said they would be more likely to support their member of Congress if they voted to reauthorize the farm bill.

“The farm bill affects all of us, and it’s important that our representatives in Congress understand the importance of timely reauthorization,” said Ben Rowe, national affairs coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, there has been a global pandemic that rattled supply chains, and disruptive weather events, low commodity prices and the war in Ukraine impacted global commodity markets.

“Updating the farm bill to address these issues, and issues on the horizon, is critical to the stability of the agriculture industry,” Rowe said.

Nutrition and risk management programs were ranked as top funding priorities among adults surveyed.

The nutrition title contains programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. SNAP provided around 40.3 million people per month with resources for buying food in 2018, and participation rose by 5.8 million households between 2019 and 2021, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.

Risk management programs such as Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage are “vital to farmers being able to mitigate the volatile nature of farming,” and funding for these tools will remain a priority in current farm bill discussions, Rowe said.

Eighty-four percent of surveyed adults agreed that the U.S. should consider it a matter of national security to ensure a safe and abundant food supply.

“Food security is the foundation of national security,” he explained. “Without a safe, abundant and reliable supply of food, feed and fiber, the U.S. would be reliant on foreign countries and imports and lose the ability to provide allies and those in need with food and natural resources—diminishing the reach of American diplomacy.”

Almost three-quarters of adults surveyed said that if the farm bill is not reauthorized, it will have a significant impact on the country.

Rowe said the impact would be “detrimental” to farming, ending some commodity support programs while reverting others to their 1938 or 1949 permanent framework—a “clunky and costly” outcome. The handful of key programs with permanent authority, like crop insurance, would lose an opportunity to be modernized.

“The 2023 Farm Bill presents an opportunity for lawmakers to rise above partisanship and work together to pass legislation that protects food security for all Americans and the future success of our farmers,” Rowe said.

Media: Contact Rowe at 804-290-1017.