U.S. Senate committees were busy on agriculture issues last Thursday, April 26. While the Senate Agriculture Committee was busy passing their version of the 2012 Farm Bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee was also meeting and approving the Fiscal Year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill. When enacted into law, these two pieces of legislation direct, fund, and limit the myriad of federal agriculture and food policies and programs.
The steps taken on the 26th are important, and the analysts at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) have posted a series of blogs (see links above) on the pluses and minus found in the bills when examined from the viewpoints of sustainable agriculture and food systems. But there are many more steps before anything becomes law. So far we see recommendations coming out of committees. They must be approved by the full Senate, and then be reconciled with legislation from the House of Representatives. As reported here before, those steps may or may not take place. And if they do, changes will be made at every step.
Citizen involvement will continue to be very important in these legislative processes. Stay tuned, stay informed, stay involved!