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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

Field, Lab, Earth releases on the third Friday of each month in addition to the occasional bonus episode. If you enjoy our show, please be sure to tell your friends and rate and review. If you have a topic, author, or paper you would like featured or have other feedback, please contact us on Twitter @fieldlabearth or use the email icon below. You can join our newsletter to receive notifications about new episodes and related resources here.

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Sep 7, 2018

The Farm Bill with Dr. Julie McClure and Dr. Elizabeth Stulberg

If you have ever eaten food in the United States, you’ve been impacted by The Farm Bill, a mega-bill that is due for renewal in Congress this September. Although it heavily affects farmers, the Farm Bill covers a huge swath of topics: wildlife conservation, rural affairs, agriculture research, food stamps, and a lot more. If it seems like a big and overwhelming deal, that is because it is. Luckily, we have Drs. Elizabeth Stulberg and Julie McClure, two ASA-CSSA-SSSA science policy managers that are fluent in scientific research and the ins and outs of Washington politics to be our guides. For our membership, they work as translators between scientists and policymakers. Scientists want to know about relevant happenings in D.C. and new available funding opportunities; policymakers want to know new science that could impact their legislative districts.

We discuss the amazing history of the Farm Bill, how the bill will move through Congress this September, and what happens to the $1 trillion that is slated to be budgeted for this next Farm Bill. As it turns out, passing an important bill (especially a bill that affects so many) is hard! Put your learning caps on, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the process of how a concept grows from idea into a large-scale part of our daily lives.

Tune in to learn:

  • Why is the Farm Bill so huge?
  • What does the Farm Bill have to do with The Dust Bowl?
  • What’s a congressional committee and what do the different committees do? How are committee assignments made?
  • What’s an authorization, and how is that different from an appropriation?
  • What’s mandatory funding, and why would a bill need it?
  • Where are we are with the Farm Bill today?

Please note: At around 32:00 Dr. McClure says FFAR funds have to be matched by public funding, but in fact they must be matched by private (non-federal) funding.

If you would like more information about the Farm Bill, check out the Farm Bill Policy webpage or check out these articles from CSA News:

June 2017: 

March 2018: 

July 2018: 

These articles will be freely available from 7 September to 21 September, 2018.

If you would like to find transcripts for this episode or sign up for our newsletter, please visit our website:

Contact us at or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe.

If you would like to reach out to Julie or Elizabeth, you can find them here:




CEU Quiz: 

Legislative Action Network:

Farm Bill Pages:

Society Policy Pages:

USDA Leadership Opportunities:
ACS-NIFA Internship

Congressional Fellowship

Field, Lab, Earth is copyrighted to the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.