Every 5-7 years, Congress passes legislation known as the “farm bill.” The farm bill is an omnibus piece of legislation that affects every aspect of the food system; including financial support for agriculture, nutrition programs, rural development, trade, and many others. Historically, the farm bill has faced shortcomings in terms of supporting small-scale and regional food systems; minority and female farmers; and conservation and environmental goals. In order to foster a better farm bill, since 2016, the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) has led the Farm Bill Law Enterprise (FBLE), a national partnership of law schools working toward a farm bill that reflects the long-term needs of our society. FBLE values economic opportunity and stability; public health and nutrition; climate change mitigation and adaptation; public resources stewardship; and racial and socioeconomic justice.
FBLE has published its recommendations for the next farm bill, anticipated in 2023. These recommendations focus on enhancing USDA’s response to climate change, promoting equity across USDA programs and the agricultural sector, expanding access to nutritious food, and increasing USDA’s support for agricultural workers, among other priorities. In addition to publishing educational resources on its website, FBLE embraces opportunities to provide USDA with information and recommendations, and frequently responds to USDA’s requests public input on its policies. Many of FBLE’s members, including FLPC, provide technical assistance and support to other organizations and constituents related to farm bill programs and USDA policies.