The House Agriculture Committee has approved a Farm Bill that the House will vote on, likely this Friday, that further tips the playing field toward subsidizing large commodity farmers, away from small and mid-size fruit and vegetable growers. This bill fails to address the needs of our farmers and will increase hunger in New Jersey. The Farm Bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee:
- Cuts funds for Farmers’ Markets.
- Cuts or eliminates conservation programs by $800 million.
- Creates enormous subsidy loopholes for large farmers, allowing the farm owner and his entire family and their spouses to receive money, even if they do not work on the farm.
- Eliminates organic cost share that helps pay for organic certification.
- Would preempt state laws and create new loopholes in pesticide safety regulations.
- Would change the work requirements for SNAP (i.e. food stamps) that could eliminate or cut the benefits for 2 million people, thereby increasing hunger.
Tell your Congressperson to VOTE NO! on this bill. Your voice is important to helping your representative decide how to vote. Should this Bill fail, Congress will probably pass a one year extension, and we can hope that a new Congress will create a more enlightened bill that will serve the needs of the people and change the food system to support local agriculture.
Other, national-level organizations have done an excellent job reading and analyzing this massive bill and its amendments. In particular, the following organizations have written clearly on the risks of the current bill:
We believe a Farm Bill that serves New Jersey should support healthier diets, support local farmers, protect our environment, combat hunger, and ensure that affordable food is available to all.