How the Farm Bill Could Affect Our Food System

Janine Jackson: After House Republicans passed their farm bill, reportedly the first time the critical measure — involving everything from nutrition assistance to crop subsidies — has passed either chamber with only single-party support, Donald Trump tweeted, “Farm Bill just passed in the House. So happy to see work requirements included. Big win for the farmers!”

Among other things, Trump doesn’t mean farmers like the Callahan family, profiled in Civil Eats, small farmers in South Carolina who not only qualify for SNAP — the food assistance program Trump is crowing over making harder to access — but who benefit also from programs Republicans would cut, that encourage the farmers’ markets where the family make much of their income, including selling to people who pay with SNAP benefits.

The Senate version pushes back on some of that, but does that make it good? And what else should we know about what’s likely to be in the final legislation, due by the end of September? Patty Lovera is the assistant director of Food and Water Watch. She coordinates the food team. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Patty Lovera.

Patty Lovera: Hi, thanks for having me.

There’s so many elements to this $860 billion legislation, it’s easy to miss things. We’ve seen some attention — and rightly so — on what was apparently the House Democrats’ sticking point, the restrictions that Republicans want to add to SNAP. I want to get to other things, too, but what is your sense of whether this very familiar, punitive, non-evidence-based stuff, to do with Food Assistance Programs — is that going to make it through conference, do you think?

That is the question. You know, every five years or so, give or take a…

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