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Farm Bill Gadfly Returns

Congressional watchdog Daniel Imhoff is so primed and ready to join this year’s farm bill fray that he’s firing the opening salvo, updating his exhaustive examination of the last agri-political showdown in anticipation of this year’s legislative retooling.

Imhoff, who delved deep into the weeds of the 2008 farm bill negotiations, is returning to the food policy trenches with another edition of “Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill.” He’ll be chewing the proverbial fat and signing copies of the annotated tome at the flagship Busboys & Poets (2021 14th St. NW) at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

When pressed about what’s new in the farm bill policing game, Imhoff suggested there was plenty to get fired up about.

He’s concerned about deficit spending (“This means there will probably be less of a farm bill pie to go around,” he warned), armies of special-interest groups (he’s eyeballing everyone from the Defense Department to the anti-hunger lobby) and our newfound interest in childhood obesity (“We simply can’t go on feeding ourselves the way we have or the health costs will overwhelm local, state and federal governments,” he predicted).

And those are just the stumbling blocks he envisions lawmakers might actually be able to work around.

So has Imhoff set up presumptive farm bill auteurs, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), on his speed dial?

Not yet.

But he looks forward to chatting “with any representative who’s interested in working toward a food and farm bill that’s centered around health, present and future challenges and social responsibility.”

“Right now, public opinion is racing far ahead of leadership,” Imhoff said.

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