The Farm Bill Fight

The debate about what the legislation ought to be has become ensnared in the nation’s culture wars.

The farm bill is one of the most important but least understood pieces of U.S. legislation, and it’s overdue for renewal. The 2023 omnibus law, which costs upwards of $100 billion a year and which governs food stamps and most aspects of the U.S. agricultural system, was supposed to be in place by October 1. But Congress couldn’t pass a new version, trapped in partisan dysfunction and also a deeper, perhaps more contentious debate about what the bill ought to be—a debate that has become ensnared in the nation’s culture wars. Racial equity, food sovereignty, protections for workers, and meaningful action on climate change now compete with the bill’s traditional mandate of growing food and feeding hungry people.

In a special series in partnership with Mother Jones that will run through February, we’ll explore the urgent issues a new farm bill must address.

Illustrations by Delphine Lee

In this Series