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June 18, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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Discuss: Time to include local and organic farms in the Farm Bill?

Congress is considering a set of legislative reforms meant to encourage small farms. The reforms are aimed at the 2012 Farm Bill.

The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, offers a small tipping of the scales away from decades of federal support for industrial farming.

It could be a boon in Washington state where small-scale agriculture is growing. Hundreds of local entrepreneurs working in backyards, home kitchens and on family farms have created a huge network of farmers markets, and community-supported agriculture programs. The Times picked a handful around the state worth the drive.

It would also be yet another effort in the nearly $1 trillion Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 that will set policy and spending on American farms for the next decade. Critics argue, correctly, that the federal program has grown to encompass so much, many of it unrelated to farming. This story gives the best historical context..

But if we want to support local food products and producers, shouldn't there be room in the barn for organic and local farmers?

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