Sep 13, 2018 – Beth Kaiserman
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry met today to discuss agricultural trade, amidst Trump’s trade wars and the pending Farm Bill.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said these are the two biggest concerns he hears about nationwide.
Last week Mathematica predicted 2 million people would lose SNAP benefits if the House version is passed. Senate Democrats have refused to approve cutting off food assistance for many low-income citizens. Of course, this affects farmers too, as many farmers markets are a source of healthy food for SNAP participants.
Why It Matters
With so much noise happening in politics, it’s easy to forget: ‘You are what you eat.’ What’s in your salad or smoothie starts with farmers who work tirelessly to get food on tables across the world. It can be difficult to process the economic situations within the food system until actually seeing the prices of food items increase.
The concerns today were clear: American farmers are worried about losing their farms as a result of Trump’s trade policies. Trump’s $12 billion in farm subsidies – promised to offset the damage – doesn’t extend to small fruit and vegetable growers. It is becoming more difficult to start or maintain a small farm in the U.S.
The current plans for U.S. agricultural trade offer “short-term pain with hopes of long-term gain,” Ted McKinney, under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said.
“How do you explain that to the farmer who’s going to lose everything?” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) said.
You can listen to the full hearing here, and tune in for the next one Sept. 20.