Friends of the Earth Supports Alternative Farm Bill
Rep. Blumenauer’s bill provides vision for sustainable, fair and humane agriculture system, reforms wasteful subsidy programs and invests in healthy food, diversified farms and conservation programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Friends of the Earth today supported Representative Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) Food and Farm Act, a progressive alternative to farm policy dominated by industrial agriculture. Current federal agricultural policy directs significant tax-payer subsidies towards large, pesticide-intensive industrial farms at the expense of family farmers, rural communities, public health, animal welfare, and the environment. As Congress begins to deliberate the 2018 Farm Bill, Friends of the Earth applauds the Food and Farm Act’s alternative vision for an agricultural system that will help family farmers and ranchers thrive, while improving access to healthy food and protecting our planet.
“Instead of handing out endless taxpayer dollars to agribusiness polluters, the Food and Farm Act will provide farmers the support they need to produce abundant, healthy food while protecting our soil, water, climate and pollinators,” said Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of the food and agriculture program at Friends of the Earth. “For the benefit of family farmers, consumers, animals and the environment, we urge Congress to reject the status quo and support Rep. Blumenauer’s alternative farm bill”
“I applaud Rep. Blumenauer for drafting a farm bill that will help farmers like me expand production of organic, grass-fed, humane, and locally processed meat and dairy products for the growing market of consumers who want healthier food for their families,” said Will Harris, a fourth generation farmer and owner of White Oaks Pasture, a diversified and certified organic, grass-fed and humane operation that raises and processes beef, lamb, poultry, rabbits, eggs, and vegetables in Georgia. “It would be a great leap forward to have a farm bill that supports regenerative and humane agricultural practices that serve to strengthen our local rural economies.”
Among other provisions, the Food and Farm Act includes measures to:
- Level the playing field for family farmers by limiting subsidies in the commodity, conservation, and crop insurance programs;
- Protect soil and water quality by requiring that crop insurance subsidy recipients implement good stewardship practices on their land;
- Support regenerative, organic, pasture-based and humane farming practices that will protect pollinators, build healthy soil and reduce the use of antibiotics and pesticides;
- Eliminate conservation subsidies for large factory farm waste facilities;
- Increase access to healthy food in underserved communities and schools, and support infrastructure investments that will allow greater access to better quality, regionally produced meat, dairy and poultry products;
- Protect farmers from anti-competitive, deceptive and abusive business practices by multinational meat processing companies;
- Increase research for sustainable agriculture, climate resiliency, plant breeding and animal welfare; and
- Require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms and commodity crop production.