Bryan Pollard, president of Native American Journalists Association and communications director for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas. (Produced by Lydia Fielder)
MIAMI — The Native American Journalists Association will host a panel discussion Friday on the Farm Bill ahead of Congress’ upcoming discussion of the legislation.
The workshop intends to explore how one of the largest pieces of legislation in the United States will significantly impact the country’s five million American Indians and Alaska Natives.
At $428 billion, the Farm Bill is one of the largest pieces of domestic legislation in the United States, addressing everything from nutrition programs, agricultural policies and food production to natural resource conservation, rural development and insurance programs. It also governs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
Two bills have been passed, one in the House and one in the Senate. The legislation is expected to go to Conference Committee in the next few weeks to reach a consensus on a final bill.
Stubbornness in the House, reports The Washington Post, “[has] fueled fears Congress will not be able to pass a new farm bill before the current law expires September 30.”
If Congress fails to meet the deadline, some programs would be disrupted. However, both chambers are under pressure to pass the bill on time to give farmers more security in the upcoming growing season.
“We wanted to do this session to make sure that our membership and native journalists understand how important the Farm Bill is and ways that they can cover that so that their community is aware of the issue,” said Bryan Pollard, president of NAJA and communications director for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas.
*The Farm Bill is S. 3042 in the Senate and H.R. 2 in the House.