Today, the House failed to secure a sufficient number of votes to pass its version of the 2018 Farm Bill – the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). It is fitting that this bill, which was full of loopholes and handouts for America’s wealthiest mega-farms, failed on the same day that the Government Accountability Office issued a report showing that existing commodity subsidy limitations are not sufficiently protecting taxpayers against subsidy abuses. In response to the failure of the bill in the House, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) issued the following comment:
The voices of family farmers and the sustainable agriculture community have been heard. Countless calls, emails, and even in person visits were made in the last week by Americans who were deeply troubled by the House’s flawed farm bill. Across the country, NSAC’s diverse membership sounded the alarm about the disastrous provisions included in this toxic bill, and we are grateful that their efforts were successful in defeating it. As an organization responsible for developing and helping to implement some of our nation’s most successful sustainable agriculture programs and policies, we remain committed to these efforts and to getting a farm bill done before the current bill expires in September 2018.
Stopping H.R. 2 was an absolute imperative for family farmers, rural communities, and for everyone who eats or enjoys the benefit of our nation’s natural resources. The House farm bill was deeply flawed, and would have undermined decades of collaborative work by farmers and advocates to advance sustainable farm and food systems in the U.S. We strongly urge the House Agriculture Committee to immediately go back to the drawing board and develop a bill of which all Americans can be proud.
As it stood, H.R. 2 would have gone down in history as the most anti-family farm and anti-environment farm bill of all time. The bill sought to unravel critical conservation, local food, business development, and organic agriculture programs with long track records of success. H.R. 2 also would have created a multitude of new loopholes, allowing unlimited, unchecked taxpayer subsidies for the wealthiest mega-farms. These provisions would have led to consolidation in the countryside, and further exacerbated the challenges that beginning farmers and small and mid-sized family farms face every day.
While we are pleased that the House adopted an important amendment to advance the evaluation of conservation outcomes and defeated another amendment that would have further undermined the development of value-added agricultural businesses, the most important thing that happened in the House today was the defeat of this toxic bill.
Throughout the remainder of this process, NSAC remains committed to working with members of Congress in both chambers to pass a strong, bipartisan bill that works for small and mid-sized family farmers, strengthens rural communities, and protects our shared natural resources.
Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition