If you eat, you’re affected by the farm bill. The U.S. farm bill is the largest piece of legislation that affects food, farming, and nutrition.

It expires every five years and needs to be reauthorized. The current farm bill expired on September 30, 2023. In November, Congress passed a much-needed, one-year extension, providing funding through September 2024 for farm programs and food assistance. The extension buys us more time to continue advocating for CFSA’s policy priorities in next year’s new Farm Bill.

0:00 – Introduction | 0:50 – History/what is the farm bill? | 1:36 – What does it do? Why should people care? | 3:15 – What are marker bills? | 4:55 – How can regular folks get involved?

Below, we share ways to get involved, CFSA’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities, and much more!

Why all this talk about marker bills? What are they?

In the years between reauthorized farm bills, marker bills are introduced in Congress as teaser legislation suggested for inclusion in the next bill. 

Not all marker bills are intended to be passed on their own. Sometimes they’re food, agricultural, and food system concepts introduced to help gain bipartisan support and traction for potential inclusion in bigger legislation like the farm bill.

What is CFSA looking for in the 2023 Farm Bill?

As a nonpartisan nonprofit, CFSA’s farm bill priorities are informed by our members. Our member network is a powerful force for positive change in food systems throughout the Carolinas. From all walks of life—eaters to farmers, researchers to policy wonks—we stand together to demand an equitable 2023 Farm Bill that ensures justice for all people and ecosystems.

We will continue to push to increase bipartisan support for inclusion in the following provisions to be included in the 2023 Farm Bill:

  • The Agriculture Resiliency Act offers farmer-driven solutions rooted in science to:
    • Support the USDA in improving their research & Regional Climate Hub
    • Invest in public breed and cultivar research
    • Improve soil health
    • Protect existing farmland
    • Support pasture-based livestock systems
    • Increase funding for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program
    • Reduce food waste
  • The Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act increases and improves USDA’s procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables, partnering with growers, distributors, and food hubs to provide fresh, U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables to community organizations like schools, local food pantries, and youth organizations while prioritizing socially disadvantaged farmers and entities, regional food inequities, and local and regional food systems.
  • The Strengthening Local Processing Act increases slaughter options for local livestock and poultry producers, assists smaller facilities, and helps consumers access locally raised meat and poultry.

We’re also working to increase funding and eligibility for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and to push for increased investment by the Farm Credit System in local food and ag initiatives.

I want to do something. Can anyone get involved with the farm bill?

Yes, anyone can get involved! Here are some ways to dig in with farm bill advocacy in the Carolinas:

  • Become a CFSA member. CFSA members shape CFSA’s priorities. Help us understand your community’s needs and stories, so we can advocate for a farm bill that benefits all farmers and communities in the Carolinas and beyond.
    • Anyone is welcome at any time, and we have limited-income memberships available. Still too much? Contact us!
  • Subscribe to CFSA’s policy news, including monthly e-news from the CFSA Policy Team and Action Alerts. Alert emails nudge you to take action in timely moments on crucial legislation.
  • Dig in with the N.C. Food System Advocacy Coalition (NCFSAC) – this group of 55 diverse individual and organizational members hosts regular farm bill trainings and discussions. To be added to the coalition’s email list, email NCFSAC coordinator Brett Citrine-Rapbaum at [email protected].
    • Live in South Carolina? You can still be part of NCFSAC! The group supports collaborative advocacy actions with partners in South Carolina, so please do not hesitate to reach out and engage.
  • Attend virtual or in-person trainings and discussions.
    • Monthly NCFSAC meetings are on the second Friday at 1 pm.
    • Monthly virtual farm bill updates occur on third Thursdays at noon.
  • Learn and engage on social media.
  • Get in touch with us to plan together for direct advocacy actions with your lawmakers.

Who is the N.C. Food System Advocacy Coalition? NCFSAC is comprised of more than 55 individuals and organizations, including CFSA. Since a key component to successful advocacy is showing up with a broad base with a united front, the coalition formed in 2021 to push for an equitable farm bill that allows all people and ecosystems they exist within to thrive.