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Food Security Packing Space Priorities in Upcoming Farm Bill

With conversations over the 2023 Farm Bill set to begin in earnest in the coming months, many in the farming community are asking if the farm portions of the legislation and nutrition segments be separated.

Todd Nash, President of the Oregon Cattleman’s Association says he doesn’t have an issue with those nutritional elements, such as SNAP and WIC being included in the farm bill. But what he does take issue with is the way the legislation is often portrayed.

He says this go-around, he’s hopeful lawmakers will use clear language, so taxpayers don’t look at the 2023 Farm Bill as a giant giveaway for farmers and ranchers.

“When in fact if you zeroed that down to the 20 percent that is eligible for, and then you get through all of the administration costs of all of that, what actually get put into the hands of farmers and ranchers to help then through rough times or to do conservation work, is sometime distorted by that larger number.”

As far as the legislation itself is concerned, Nash would like lawmakers to address the needs of packing capacity as well as food security. He says if done correctly, the U.S. cattle producer, the consumer, everyone will win.

“One of the bring spots that we see as agriculturalists, we have an average across the United States, somewhere around 35 head per ranch. So, we have this distribution of cattle scattered around that lends towards food security, but what we discovered with COVID through is that concentration of that processing, if we have a breakdown in that, it makes us vulnerable. And so, it’s one of the things that we want to take a look at.”

Story and audio provided by NAFB News Service and Glenn Vaagen, PNW Ag Network, Pasco, Washington.
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