Proponents of urban agriculture are hoping two bills will be reintroduced this year in time to be added to the 2018 Farm Bill. Bloomberg reports the bills have very different initiatives but similar goals, with hopes to create economic opportunity and show support for farmers and ranchers in urban areas.
The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 outlines a plan to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture within the Department of Agriculture and make urban agriculture activities eligible for funding from USDA programs. The bill, introduced by Democrat Debbie Stabenow, was referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. Meanwhile, the Urban Agriculture Production Act of 2016 aims to establish an outreach program to award grants to support urban farm outreach activities.
The bill was referred to the House Agriculture Committee. Lawmakers plan to reintroduce the bill next month in the U.S. House. There are currently no plans, however, to reintroduce Stabenow’s bill.