farm bill

Dear Senator __

I am writing to you to express my concerns about the Farm Bill.

I am the granddaughter and niece of farmers, and my family has included farmers as far back as anyone can remember. However, we are not rich.

My grandfather and uncle used to raise dairy cattle and wheat. But a lack of manpower in their small town offered them little choice than to sell off the dairy portion of the farm once my cousins were grown. Now they raise beef cattle with their wheat.

I wish I could see them grow vegetables. Cows require so much of the environment, and give so little in return. And wheat! They can’t eat the wheat as it is; they must sell it for processing, then buy back the finished product.

I know that, traditionally, the Farm Bill provides large subsidies for wheat, soybeans, and cotton. I also know that, because of these subsidies, U.S. farmers can sell these crops at a low price. Which in turn leads artificially low commodity prices in the world market, and reduced income for farmers around the world—farmers who may not have the luxury of government subsidies.

I know how hard farming can be, and how much of a gamble it is to rely on the weather and fluctuating market prices for your income. I do not think the federal government should completely do away with financial assistance for farmers. But can’t we help U.S. farmers without hurting farmers in other countries?

These are my hopes for the new Farm Bill:

  1. No subsidies for farmers who earn more than $100,000 per year. Yes, farming is risky. But wealthy farmers can bear the risk. Why should my tax money ensure their continued wealth, when I can barely make ends meet myself?
  1. Aid or subsidies that will encourage farmers to grow food they can use themselves—like fruit, vegetables, eggs or milk—and sell in their community. This will decrease the amount of money farmers need to survive. It will also conserve energy—it won’t be necessary to ship underripe food across the country to feed everyone.
  1. Money that will encourage farmers to embrace sustainable farming techniques. Reducing herbicides and pesticides will improve the health of farmers and farmworkers across the nation, as well as that of the people who eat their food. Plus, raising a wide variety of crops will ensure farmers some income, no matter what the weather is. And biodiversity will ensure that the United States does not suffer a tragedy like the Irish Potato Famine.

I hope you will take my thoughts to heart. Please let me know how you intend to proceed.


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