The latest from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) featuring Farm Bill News, USDA News, Livestock News and more…
FARM BILL NEWS
Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act of 2018 (S. 2557), a bipartisan bill to strengthen the farm bill’s three largest conservation programs: the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). All four co-sponsoring Senators of the GROW Act sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and are united in their dedication to advancing soil health and water quality in the upcoming farm bill.
In other Farm Bill news, Capitol Hill was buzzing last week with hundreds of people in town for meetings with their Congress members in advance of the next farm bill and upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations decisions. Among the crowds and long lines were 20 farmers and farm advocates in town for NSAC’s March “farmer fly-in” – grassroots events wherein the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) brings farmers and advocates from across the country to DC to speak directly with decision makers on the Hill about the programs and policies they care about.
Interest in the “farm to fork pipeline” has been steadily growing over the last decade, among both consumers and producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers a series of grant opportunities – which can be used for many purposes, including developing and growing farmers markets, supporting specialty crop growers, and strengthening good food distribution systems – to support the growth of this sector.
Farmers who enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in 2014 have less than one month to renew their existing contracts for an additional 5 years. Applications for renewal of expiring contracts are due April 13, 2018. Through CSP, participants can receive assistance in improving the soil, water, air, and habitat quality on working lands; they can also use CSP support to address water quantity and energy conservation issues.
Last week, the exploitative business practices of multinational poultry processing companies – and the role of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in facilitating that exploitation – were put on display by a shocking report from the SBA’s own Office of Inspector General (OIG). The report reveals that SBA has in recent years made an increasing number of loans to large contract poultry operations, and that $1.8 billion worth of these loans were made illegally. It also highlights the extreme control that poultry companies, known as “integrators,” exert over chicken farmers.
During consideration of S. 2283 by the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered and the Committee passed an amendment responding to a recent report by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which found that SBA had been subsidizing an abusive, highly-concentrated contract poultry industry.
Get more farm policy and agricultural politics from beginningfarmers.org at https://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-policy-agricultural-politics/