gipsa decision favors big ag, harms family farmers

posted October 31, 2017

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photo credit: USDA/flickr

The USDA recently made their final decision on GIPSA – to pull the pending Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules designed to level the playing field for poultry and livestock producers. These rules have been languishing since the 2008 farm bill, and today’s action firmly places this administration on the side of large meatpackers and poultry processors, not family farmers.

After years of negotiation and analysis, the rule would have protected contract livestock growers from the retaliation they have suffered after exposing financial hardship and ruin caused by large-scale poultry companies and meatpackers. If there was any hope that Secretary Perdue and this administration would stand up for small- and medium-sized family farmers and the rural communities they support, that has been dashed now.

Click HERE to read GIPSA’s full statement.


watch: national young farmers coalition lindsey lusher shute’s fantastic statement before the senate.

posted August 10, 2017

We are so proud of Lindsey Luscher Shute after her outstanding performance before the senate committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She did a fantastic job of representing the struggles facing young farmers, from land access and affordability, student loan debt, health care affordability to the bias against women and people of color in the existing agricultural framework. She went on to outline the progress needed going forward and the issues that need to be addressed in the next Farm Bill in order to support a new generation of farmers who face different challenges and require different support mechanisms.

Lindsey also submitted a full written testimony that goes into much more detail about the young farmers movement. To read the full testimony click HERE


action alert! upcoming farm bill listening sessions.

posted July 29, 2017

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pictured: Colin Thompson, a Community Food Systems Educator for Michigan State University Extension credit: OFRF

As the next Farm Bill approaches, the House Agriculture Committee members are beginning to gather input from farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders. As you may know, several current programmes that contribute to the success of organic agriculture are under threat of elimination as so it is imperative that policy makers hear directly from organic farmers, researchers and organic farming advocates.

There are three upcoming listening sessions in the next week organised by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Monday July 31 2017 – 1.00 pm. Texas

Angelo State University,
C.J. Davidson Conference Centre,
1910 Rosemont Drive,
San Angelo, Texas

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. Minnesota 

Farmfest,
Gilfillan Estates,
28366 Co. Hwy 13,
Morgan, Minnesota

Saturday, August 5, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. Modesto, California
Address to yet to be announced.

If you are hoping to speak at one of the listening sessions, arrive early as the opportunity to speak will be decided on a first come first served basis and speaking time will likely be restricted to approximately 2 minutes.

Recently, at OFRF’s recommendation, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced H.R. 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act (OARA). This historic bipartisan legislation reauthorizes USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), and increases its mandatory funding from $20 million to $50 million annually. If passed, the Organic Agriculture Research Act would become part of the 2018 Farm Bill. It is important to show your support now.

If you would like more information about the listening sessions or the issues at stake, please email policy@ofrf.org.


crop insurance reform

posted May 14, 2016

Federal crop insurance is the major farm safety net program. It is also the costliest program outside the nutrition title of the federal Farm Bill. Unlike most other Farm Bill programs, there are no limits on crop insurance subsidies and only minimal conservation requirements.
This makes the program ripe for reform. We predict action on federal crop insurance will be among the most contentious issues during the 2018 Farm Bill debate. We have identified 4 key areas for changes, click HERE.

AG GAG and other thoughts, by john ikerd

posted September 9, 2014

10 Reasons to Oppose ‘Right to Farm’ Amendments

 I grew up on a dairy farm and currently live in a small town in a farming area. I have spent my 50-year professional career working in agriculture, mostly with farmers and people in rural communities. I think farmers have the same “right to farm” as other Americans have to pursue any other professional occupation. However, I don’t think real farmers deserve, need, or even want special constitutional privileges. Here are ten reasons for opposing “right to farm amendments.”

1. Agricultural producers already benefit from special right to farm “legislation in all agricultural states. These laws protect farmers from frivolous nuisance suits brought by uninformed or intolerant neighbors who have moved into traditional farming communities.

2. People in rural communities who have the greatest concern for the future of family farms and rural communities are opposing right to farm amendments. National organizations, such as the Humane Society of the U.S. and the Sierra Club, support rural opponents because they don’t think agriculture should be exempt from public accountability for their actions.

(more…)


usda press release: organic markets are growing, 2014 farm bill funding helps access these markets

posted March 20, 2014

USDA organic

In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:

  • $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
  • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
  • Expanded options for organic crop insurance
  • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
  • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
  • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
  • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750/year.

For more information,  check out the USDA Organic Resources Page


great context-setting events

posted March 19, 2014

 

Part IV begins next week. Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 6.17.02 PM

Our policy workshop webinar series investigates four broad themes in food and agriculture policy. Part I explores linkages between theory and practice in food justice; Part II, a legal framework for the new food movement; Part III part examines GMOs and intellectual property; and Part IV, the farm bill and the future of farming.

To join the webinar mailing list for updates and registration information, please contact Susanne Stahl at susanne.stahl@yale.edu. More information is available at http://envirocenter.yale.edu.

The Farm Bill and the Future of Farming
Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Analyst, Environmental Working Group Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Martha Noble, Vice-Chair, Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Sarah Carlson, Midwest Cover Crop Research Coordinator, Practical Farmers of Iowa Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT


mainstream on farm bill

posted March 12, 2014

JP-FARM-articleLarge

Farm Bill Reflects Shifting American Menu and a Senator’s Persistent Tilling
By Jennifer Steinhauer, MARCH 8, 2014

WASHINGTON — The farm bill signed by President Obama last month was at first glance the usual boon for soybean growers, catfish farmers and their ilk. But closer examination reveals that the nation’s agriculture policy is increasingly more whole grain than white bread.

Within the bill is a significant shift in the types of farmers who are now benefiting from taxpayer dollars, reflecting a decade of changing eating habits and cultural dispositions among American consumers. Organic farmers, fruit growers and hemp producers all did well in the new bill. An emphasis on locally grown, healthful foods appeals to a broad base of their constituents, members of both major parties said.

read the full article HERE



are you joining the beyond the farm bill conversation?

posted February 25, 2014

via The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  And visit Beyond the Farm Bill.org

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Register for the National Network meeting and help build food and ag policies that work.

March 24–25, 2014
The Marquette Hotel, Minneapolis
www.btfb.org

Next month, innovative experts and organizations will come together for a two day, collaborative meeting to build the “blueprint” for food and agriculture policies that are fair, healthy, and sustainable on all levels. (more…)