Good News on the Farm Bill
The 2007 Farm Bill is not on my bedside reading table, and I feel guilty about that. But with the encouragement of colleagues and personal heroes both I’ve been following its progress a little, enough to get pretty excited at the news that Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-California) got $1.5 billion over five years added to the farm bill for specialty crops—those special, high-end products we call fruits and vegetables. It’s peanuts next to the $12 to $25 billion that annually goes to the five or so regular, everyday crops like corn, cotton, wheat that the USDA subsidizes. But it’s significantly more than what any Farm Bill has ever allotted before. Cardoza is the chairman of the recently formed House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, which one could argue was created to get more money for organic farming and fresh produce in the 2007 Farm Bill. The bill still has to pass the House and Senate—it’s still just a bill, but as of last night, it’s a better one. I bought some vegetables – er, specialty crops – at the Greenmarket today; to celebrate, I'm going to go home and cook them.