U.S. agriculture policy to be subject of forum Thursday night

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | 1:59 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The federal farm bill will be the primary focus of a public forum Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library.

Dr. Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, will be the featured speaker at the event, which is cosponsored by the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County and the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

Westhoff said he will discuss various provisions of the farm bill, including funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but that his main area of expertise is the agricultural aspect of the issue. Westhoff mentioned recent changes to renewable fuel standards by the Environmental Protection Agency as one topic he would address at the forum.

He predicts the bill will have a far-reaching impact.

“The farm bill's going to affect anyone who is involved in agriculture or anyone who eats," Westhoff said.

Marilyn McLeod, League of Women Voters member, said that the league spotlights different issues from year to year, and that agricultural policy was chosen this year for the first time since the 1980s.

"It seemed time to look at it again since there have been lots of changes in the world as far as how food is produced and regulation," McLeod said.

The forum is open to the public. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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