The latest 2018 Farm Bill news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
2018 FARM BILL NEWS
The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), along strict party lines this week. In the latest 2018 Farm Bill news, NSAC opposes the bill in its current form that was passed by the House Agriculture Committee and believes it undermines decades of work by farmers and advocates to advance sustainable agriculture and food systems in the U.S.
This week, the House Agriculture Committee “marked-up” and passed Chairman Mike Conaway’s draft farm bill by a vote of 26 to 20 – all Republicans voted to support and all Democrats voted to oppose the bill. And while the Committee was successful in passing its version of the farm bill, there was no real markup nor substantial debate over the policies put forth in the draft bill. No amendments were offered by Members on either side of the aisle to correct the very serious deficiencies of the Committee’s draft bill. During the five-hour debate, members of the Committee voiced their opposition not only to nutrition cuts, but changes to other parts of the bill, including conservation, renewable energy, beginning farmers, and rural development.
As part of its ongoing analysis of the Chairman’s draft bill, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) reviewed the farm subsidies provisions and found that they would promote land and economic consolidation, with the primary beneficiaries being the largest, wealthiest farm operations.
Many of the farm bill’s tiny but mighty programs are targeted toward strengthening local and regional food systems and ensuring that rural and food producing communities have the tools and resources to capitalize on farm-to-fork economic opportunities. Despite the penchant on Capitol Hill to celebrate programs that “do more with less,” the draft farm bill released last week by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) proposes to slash over $350 million from these twelve hard-working programs.
In total, the draft bill proposes to cut funding for working lands conservation programs by 25 percent ($4.3 billion) over five years and 20 percent ($7.1 billion) over 10 years, exclusive of final payments to existing CSP contracts. To put that figure in contrast, the 2014 Farm Bill cut the entire conservation title by $4 billion over 10 years.
MORE 2018 FARM BILL NEWS
Over the past week, NSAC published a multi-part blog series analyzing the draft farm bill released on April 12, 2018 by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway. For a deeper dive on how the draft farm bill addresses top priorities for sustainable agriculture, check out our drilldown posts on: beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, crop insurance and commodity subsidies, local/regional food systems and rural development, research and seed breeding, conservation, and organic agriculture.
Nearly $7 Million Available for Farmer Food Safety Training As part of its passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Congress also created a new competitive grants program – the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) – dedicated to providing training resources to farmers. This week, USDA released its Request for Applications for FY2018 and will be accepting grant proposals for food safety training projects through June 7, 2018.
For more information about farm policy and agricultural politics from beginningfarmers.org, please go to https://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-policy-agricultural-politics/