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Shannon Yokley with Truman the TigerShannon Yokley, an agricultural journalism student at MU, will be writing a column for us about agriculture from a youth perspective. To learn more about Shannon, visit her blog, The Ag Lady.

With the agriculture industry changing everyday, policies and legislature strive to keep advancing forward as well. Not only will the new farm bill affect farmers, ranchers and consumers but it also affects younger members of society including students.

University of Missouri senior, Clarissa Brown is majoring in agriculture education. Brown shares from a student’s perspective her attitude towards the new bill.

“As students, we have to be able to adapt with the changing times,” Brown said. “We will be the next generation of agriculturalists that will be starting out with the new bill, we will be the ones to decipher its challenges and its benefits.”

Brown recognizes how our movement as a society has taken influence of the focus of the new bill.

“As agriculturalists, we have to continue to realize that we are part of a bigger picture that is further and further away from production agriculture,” Brown said. "This bill makes some huge changes. It has renewed a SNAP program that is consuming over 80% of the bill's finances. With regards to the lack in renewal for direct payments, it will change how some farmers think about capital security. It also opens some doors for disaster relief for livestock owners and dairy producers.”

As a student in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Brown admits this bill hits close to home.

“As a farmer's granddaughter and a seed intern for a company, the farm bill comes into common conversation,” Brown said. “The bill affects food quality, food prices, and taxes. Those are three things that are a part of daily life for anyone.”

With many losses due to disasters in the last few years, Brown says the new farm bill will help the agriculture industry stay prepared.

“It is going to be a great blessing to have so many programs that are prepared for disaster. To think of the huge cattle loss numbers we have, maintaining a permanent livestock disaster program for future producers is great,” Brown said. “These farmers are going to be able to sustain their agriculture practices even after large disasters.  The producer has also to assume that the government will want to be more involved in their production as we continue to receive more aid. It is simply how it works.”

Brown hopes the new bill will spark more interest in the agriculture industry.

“The general public is going to assume that the entire Farm Bill is going towards production agriculture. As that being said, rising food prices or cost will also be pushed towards the producer's name, especially with it's recent passing,” Brown said. “It is important that legislators and producers are prepared to answer many questions about SNAP, the livestock disaster program and the new programs for commodity farmers. Hopefully, people truly get excited about the new Farm Bill and start asking those essential questions as to where their food comes from and who truly produces it. Food security is a hot topic.”
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