At their March 29 board meeting, Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors approved unanimously a position statement regarding the U.S. Farm Bill, which typically is renewed every five years.
The board voted 5-0 to approve and forward the document, HSWCD Position Statement Pertaining to the 2023 U.S. Farm Bill to the Association of Florida Conservation Districts (AFCD) and to conservation districts statewide, in hopes that their members would address the issue as well with their Congressional delegations.HSWCD Farm Bill Position Statement.pdf
Toward that end, HSWCD chair Mark Proctor and treasurer Robert “Myke” Morris, along with HSWCD Executive Director Betty Jo Tompkins, were in Washington, D.C. earlier this month to meet with legislators and staff members to discuss conservation and agricultural issues.HSWCD Congress Trip March 2023.pdf
“It was a very worthwhile experience,” Proctor said. “In our face-to-face conversations with members of Congress and their staffs, they were very receptive to the points we raised. The farm bill is only up every five years and that’s why it was important to take this visit now, because what Congress decides this year for the farm bill will last for at leave five more years.”
Since the 1930s, Congress has enacted 18 farm bills, according to the Congressional Research Center (CRC), in a Feb. 22 post update.
This year marks the latest review for the omnibus, multiyear law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs, which according to the CRC provides an opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues.
According to the CRC, provisions in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 modified some of the farm commodity programs, expanded crop insurance, amended conservation programs, reauthorized and revised nutrition assistance, and extended authority to appropriate funds for many U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discretionary programs through fiscal year 2023.
For more on the bill and its budget projections and spending breakdowns, visit the Congressional Research Center Farm Bill Primer: What is the Farm Bill?