Agriculture primarily deals with the preparation of soil, planting, harvest, gardening, dairy and poultry up farming etc and the law which deals with all of these is known as agricultural law. But today, since agriculture also deals with the use of land, food products, the environment, and even issues like intellectual property, these too come within the ambit of agricultural law. In the U.S., agricultural law comprises mainly the Food, Conservation and Energy Act which is reintroduced every few years with new provisions.
The Act of 2008 will be valid for five years and includes 15 titles like commodity price support, farmland protection up, farm credit and so on.
The commodity program under this act provides income support for crops like wheat, rice, pulses etc.
The 2008 law has cut down subsidies to insurance companies for crop insurance policies. A Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program has been introduced.
This agricultural law act continues to emphasize on conservation by preserving farmland and restoring wetland.
According to this act, preference will be given to new farmers as well as the disadvantaged farmers. It has also increased loan limits for all borrowers.
It has provided for new programs for pest and disease management. It has also provided support for organic agriculture.
The agricultural law of 2008 repealed the Intermediate Export Guarantee Program, Supplier Credit Guarantee Program and Export Enhancement Program. The act has also hiked the amount set aside for non-emergency food assistance.
This bill has also pushed for local food promotion to promote health.
Some of the current issues that are associated with agricultural law are as follows:
Also, many activists argue that the U.S. agricultural law does not give the required importance to sustainable agriculture practices and the health of citizens. According to them, the current law is in fact encouraging farmers to adopt non-sustainable farming practices and grow unhealthy food. They also argue that the focus is only on the financial aspect of agriculture, when what is actually needed is protection of both farmer and consumer interests. Surveys have also shown that subsidy granted under agricultural law have not gone to support production of fresh fruit and vegetables required by the common man.
So the clamor for a more health-oriented agricultural law is on, and the US government needs to introduce suitable amendments.