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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

MFAI opposes House Farm Bill

Michael Fields joined over 500 organizations nationwide in opposing the version of the 2018 Farm Bill that failed to pass the House on Friday, May 18. (Lists of others who have signaled their opposition can be seen here.)  There are myriad reasons to oppose the House bill, and it is not clear as of this writing whether House leadership will bring this bill back to the floor, start over, or some other variant of those processes.

As it was written, this House bill would have removed limitations on the size of federal farm subsidies to large, corporate, and absentee farmers – which means that smaller farmers would continue to be squeezed out of business and that beginning farmers would have a harder time entering the business. At the same time, it would have imposed work requirements for poor people to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka “Food Stamps”). It would functionally eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program, the popular voluntary conservation program that serves farmers on more acreage than any other program. It would undermine efforts to support beginning farmers, organic farmers, and farmers of color. It cut supports for small businesses in rural communities. And on and on. Read more about the House’s extreme bill in an opinion editorial written by MFAI’s Policy Director, Margaret Krome and published in The Capital Times.

We see a few hopeful signs that the Senate bill will be a more balanced, bipartisan process and will yield a more responsible bill. We certainly hope that will be the case and that the House takes up the Farm Bill again in a more constructive frame of mind than it did in writing its first version.