Secret Food & Farm Bill down to the wire | Pesticide Action Network
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Secret Food & Farm Bill down to the wire

Margaret Reeves's picture

Update on the crazy, secret Food and Farm Bill: The House and Senate Agriculture committees failed (at least by the time of preparing this blog post) to get their Food and Farm Bill proposals to the congressional Super Committee so now our ONLY opportunity to influence this unprecedented secret process is to target the Super Committee members themselves.

On November 14, we’re joined our fellow California members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) in sending a letter to Congressman Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles to make sure our Food and Farm Bill priorities get into the bill the Super Committee will now draft.

Our key priorities

Our letter to congressman Becerra identifies particular Food and Farm bill programs we're supporting:

  • Reduce budget cuts to conservation and nutrition programs
  • Support the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act and the Local Farm, Food, and Jobs Act, which are not included in the bill that was expectedly presented to the Super Committee 
  • Maintain or increase funding for specific programs that have been key in supporting a more diverse susrtainable agricultural systems including organic production and marketing; research and extension for conservation practices; and support for socially disadvantages farmers and ranchers. 
  • Require all farms receiving federal commodity or crop insurance subsidies to comply with requirements for soil and wetland protection. 

Here's hoping for a Food and Farm Bill that truly serves the most fundamental need of our nation — to produce the food we all need and to do so in a way that protects and nourishes our bodies, our rural and urban communities, and the land, air and water upon which our existence depends.

Margaret Reeves
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Carol Ashley's picture
Carol Ashley /

One thing that I've been thinking is that rather than try to eliminate crop subsidies to the wealthiest farms, which seems impossible, what about tying those subsidies to movement toward sustainable agricultural practices. That would, I admit, take some careful thinking about how to implement such a thing.

I would love to see the industrial farms in my area stop filling in wetlands, stop cutting down all woodlots, have a reasonable rotation with somehow more addition of organic matter to the soil, reduction in irrigation (which in dry years affects many other citizens in the area), reduction in pesticide use.

Margaret Reeves is a PAN Senior Scientist with expertise in agroecology and soil ecology. As a long-time farmworker advocate, Margaret serves on the Board of the Equitable Food Initiative and works with partners around the country to ensure worker-protective federal and state policy. Follow @MargaretatPAN