From Michael Serio at the Food Nation Radio News Desk
There’s a new fight brewing in Washington D.C., and if the battle isn’t finished soon, consumers could be paying a LOT more at the grocery store.
Earlier in the year, both the US Senate and House passed very different versions of “Farm Bill 2013” and the matter is now in the hands of conferees to iron out the differences. The goal will be to reach a consensus on legislation that will satisfy both the houses of congress to be presented to the president.
This is NOT as easy as it sounds.
Earlier this year, the House voted to split the farm bill into two pieces of legislation, one that would cover the farm and agricultural aspects, with the goal of creating a separate bill to cover the food assistance programs for the needy. In the battles with the Senate and the President over budgets, immigration, raising the debt ceiling and of course, the government shutdown, House Republicans never got around to crafting the second bill.
The Senate version more closely resembles the typical Farm Bills that have been in place for the past several generations, lumping farm and agricultural policies and subsidies together with SNAP, Food Stamps, WIC and other assistance programs.
If conferees are not able to reach an agreement, provisions in place since the 1930’s will take effect that could quadruple the amount the federal government pays for milk. Suppliers would sell to the government instead of to commercial interests, and prices would skyrocket.
Legislators from both parties in both houses are urging a bipartisan approach in hopes of doing something Congress hasn’t done very much lately — reach a consensus… without a food fight!
Elizabeth Dougherty has been a food writer for over 10 years, attended culinary school and holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations from NYIT. She has been a talk show host of nearly 250 episodes of Food Nation Radio which airs each Saturday morning at 8 on the Business Talk Radio Network nationwide, Saturday afternoons at 4 on flagship WWBA AM820 News, and Sunday mornings at 8 in Orlando and on the Space Coast on WAMT AM1190 News and WIXC AM1060 News, respectively. You can read her articles and hear previous shows on her podcast page on the Food Nation Radio Networkwebsite and on Facebook.