The latest news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, including: Trump’s Budget Request Guts Food and Agriculture Programs; Role of Agricultural Research, Conservation, Specialty Crops, Barriers and Opportunities in Organic Farming, and more…
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS NEWS
Administration’s Inaugural Budget Request Guts Food and Agriculture Programs – President Trump’s budget proposal calls for draconian cuts to food and agricultural programs on a historically unprecedented scale. Adoption of the “skinny” budget – so called because it is just a few brief pages of bullet points, rather than the traditionally detailed budget proposal put forth by the President – would result in massive layoffs at USDA and dramatic reductions in federal investments in agricultural research, rural job growth and infrastructure, and farm loans and conservation. Luckily, it is unlikely that Congress will go along with much of what the President is proposing.
Release: Appropriations on the Agenda – Farmer Advocates Fly-In to Washington DC – This week, NSAC hosted its first “farmer fly-in” of the fiscal year 2018 season. Growers from Oregon, Mississippi, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Georgia took time out of their busy schedules to bring important food and farm issues to legislators’ attention as the FY 2018 appropriations cycle begins to heat up. Following the release yesterday of the President’s “Skinny Budget”, it is clear that legislators need to hear from the farmers, ranchers, and producers in their districts now more than ever.
FARM BILL NEWS
Farm Bill Hearing Explores the Role of Agricultural Research – This week, the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Specialty Crops, and Research held a hearing, asking experts from the agricultural research community to testify on the needs and impacts of the industry. This hearing is the second held by the part of a series of hearings as the House Ag Committee prepares for the Farm Bill. Many witnesses recognized that the agricultural research desperately needs additional investments in order for America’s farmers and ranchers to adequately confront the challenges of an unstable climate and agricultural market.
Path to the 2018 Farm Bill: Conservation – As a lead up to the 2018 Farm Bill, NSAC is previewing some of the major programs and policies advocates need to know in order to effectively engage. This is the second post in the Farm Bill series and covers the conservation title, with a focus on working lands conservation, easement and land retirement programs, and the linkage between conservation and crop insurance. Conservation funding provides critical tools, training, and financial support that helps farmers and ranchers to protect and improve natural resources on their land.
Farmers Testify Before House Agriculture Committee on Needs of Specialty Crop Industry – Last week, the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held their own hearing to discuss specialty crops and the next farm bill. Among the witnesses was Massachusetts farmer and President of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) Laura Davis. NOFA/Mass is a part of the NOFA Interstate Council, which is an NSAC member. NSAC helped to recruit and bring Laura to DC to provide her unique insight and testimony to the Subcommittee.
Report Highlights Barriers and Opportunities for Farmers Interested in Organic – In their newest report, Oregon Tilth sought to identify and address opportunities and barriers to farmers interested in transitioning to organic production. Utilizing results from a nationwide survey, Breaking New Ground: Farmer Perspectives on Organic identifies farmers’ motivation to transition from conventional to organic farming, the major barriers impeding them from making this transition, and the support farmers would need to make transitioning easier. This blog digs into some of Breaking New Ground’s key findings.