As Congress continues its work to pass a long-term farm bill with programs impacting all Americans, just steps away a statue of Iowa farmer and agronomist Norman Borlaug stands in the U.S. Capitol as a testament to the importance of food security. 

A leading figure of the “green revolution,” whose advancements in sustainable agriculture are credited with saving more than 1 billion lives around the globe, Dr. Borlaug famously said, “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” 

Dr. Borlaug understood the value of advancing programs that benefit the greater good for society. The farm bill contains many valuable programs beyond the moral right of food security, and its impacts extend well beyond farms, impacting all Americans. 

Food security is national security, and America’s public investment in agriculture through farm bill programs helps strengthen and secure our domestic food supply. 

Supporting jobs

A robust food supply keeps our country strong while providing consumers access to high-quality, affordable food. The agriculture and food industry provides economic security by supporting more than 46 million U.S. jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

The farm bill provides investment in conservation programs and agricultural research critical to ensuring the productivity and sustainability of our farms and domestic food supply. Iowa farmers are global leaders in production, but Iowa also leads the nation in several key conservation practices that improve soil health and water quality. 

These investments in our sustainable future allow farmers to continue producing more while using fewer resources, and it’s also an investment in the next generation. 

Through farm bill programs, farmers have voluntarily enrolled 140 million acres in conservation programs, equal to the size of California and New York combined. 

Managing risk in agriculture is essential to maintaining affordable access to food and keeping farm families on the farm. All Americans depend on the success of U.S. agriculture, so it’s essential for farmers to have protection from losses as we face extreme weather events, high supply costs and other inflationary pressures. 

Risk management tools ensure farm families remain on the farm to produce the food, fuel and fiber that drives our nation. Without risk management in place, progress and innovation will be stifled and family farms will be lost. 

Enhancing food security

Hunger and food insecurity affect millions of Americans and pose a threat to our nation. 

Nutrition programs in the farm bill are intended to ensure the most vulnerable among us have access to healthy, affordable food, and that impact is significant. Farmers grow the food that helps supply more than 4 billion meals annually through nutrition programs in the farm bill. 

From national food security and nutritional assistance to conservation advancements and risk management, positive impacts of the farm bill extend from urban centers to rural communities. 

A strong farm bill delivers value to all Americans; we urge Congress not to forget the significance of a long-term farm bill, and make the commitment to national security and sustainability. 

Johnson is president of the Iowa Farm Bureau and a fifth generation Calhoun County farmer.