The House and Senate ag committees are currently working to move proposed bills forward.
The House ag committee's first version, which did not get passed out of the House, cut conservation by nearly $1 billion, decimates local and regional food business investments, eliminates funding for organic cost share, and increases farm subsidy loopholes large enough to drive a combine through.
The Senate farm bill draft stands in stark contrast to the partisan House version. The bipartisan draft in the Senate makes farm-to-fork investments and funding to support beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers a permanent part of the farm bill. It also includes important policy changes in the crop insurance program that are likely to produce positive conservation outcomes for the future and reduce the risks for beginning farmers. The draft bill also includes permanent baseline funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), and includes funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program and Organic Data Initiatives in line with the 2014 Farm Bill. While some improvements are still needed in the Senate draft, it provides a strong foundation as Congress continues debate on the funding for food and agriculture.
The 2014 Farm Bill renewed programs that support beginning farmers, local food systems, organic agriculture, and healthy food access, thanks to a groundswell of support from grassroots farm advocates.
Work on the 2018 Farm Bill has begun and your involvement is more important than ever. Unless there is strong advocacy in support of funding for the Farmers' Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP), the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), and many more programs, they will cease to exist.
Below are important Farm Bill programs that support organic and sustainable farming practices and help farmers to develop their businesses and market their products:
|USDA Competitive Grant Research Program Funding Trends|
These are but a few of the many important programs authorized in the Farm Bill. The future of these programs depends on advocacy by farmers and those who care about sustainable agriculture and healthy food choices. Join us in this effort today.
The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, contact email@example.com or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.