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SIM Materials

SIM Curriculum - U.S. Food Policy: The Farm Bill

Discover curriculum materials for the U.S. Food Policy: The Farm Bill Senate Immersion Module experience at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

How do you feed a nation? Providing a reliable, safe, and affordable food supply is of paramount importance to the survival and success of a nation. Since 1933, the United States has addressed this issue in the form of an omnibus piece of legislation commonly known as the Farm Bill. This legislation, which Congress updates and renews approximately every five years, is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. While the traditional focus of farm bills has been providing subsidies for staple crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, dairy, and sugar, recent versions of the bill have also come to include sections on nutrition, conservation, specialty crops, and energy. The last farm bill was passed in 2008 and it expired in 2012, leaving the United States in desperate need of updated legislation.

In this SIM, students take on the roles of Senators from the 113th Congress to debate how to update agricultural policy to meet the needs of farmers for the next five years. Among the questions that students will consider while debating the 2014 Farm Bill include

(1) Should we expand, cut, or maintain funding for food assistance programs and who should have access to these programs?

(2) How do we insure farmers and their crops in the case of bad harvests, poor market conditions, or natural disasters? And

(3) To what extent and how will we support major commodity crops such as wheat, corn, rice, dairy, and sugar?

Created in 2016 by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute and the American Education Foundation

Reviewed by the University of Mississippi

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