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10 Reasons Why Congress Must Act to Pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

Feb 21, 2017

Getting a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed this year is essential – and it can’t fall victim to politics as usual. Too much is at stake, and too many people lose out if Congress can’t act.  Here are 10 good reasons why Congress must take action as soon as possible to achieve passage of a Farm Bill this year:

1. America’s farmers, ranchers and producers need certainty about the next five years of U.S. farm policy, to continue the recent momentum of the U.S. agricultural economy and rising farm income.

A family farm sits on small knoll in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
A family farm sits on small knoll in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

2. Livestock producers need disaster assistance applied retroactively, in light of a long-term drought that has forced the liquidation of herds to the lowest level in decades.

View of one of the homestead ranches. Photo by Mark Gocke.
View of one of the homestead ranches. Photo by Mark Gocke.

3. Dairy producers need an effective support system that helps them to stem the decline in the number of U.S. dairy operations.

Hallaway Dairy Farm in Delhi, NY.
Hallaway Dairy Farm in Delhi, NY.

4. Farmers, landowners and forest owners need streamlined conservation programs that will make a more efficient and effective use of limited conservation funds, while building on record conservation efforts underway today.

A flock of Canadian Geese takes flight on Blackwater Marsh at Blackwater National Wildlife refuge in Cambridge, MD.
A flock of Canadian Geese takes flight on Blackwater Marsh at Blackwater National Wildlife refuge in Cambridge, MD.

5. Organic and specialty crop producers need renewed and expanded access to Farm Bill programs that have fueled the growth of a multibillion dollar industry in direct-to-consumer sales.

Amy's Organic Garden owner Amy Hicks harvests greens at her farm in Charles City, VA.
Amy's Organic Garden owner Amy Hicks harvests greens at her farm in Charles City, VA.

6. Researchers and students at Land Grant Universities need support to meet modern challenges in agriculture and carry out the innovation we need to sustainably increase agricultural production.  A new, nonprofit research foundation provided by a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill could leverage millions of dollars of private sector funding to provide this assistance.

The Produce Quality and Safety Laboratory at the Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland
The Produce Quality and Safety Laboratory at the Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland

7. Job seekers in rural America need new and expanded investments in renewable energy, biofuel, and biobased product manufacturing, all of which can create jobs in rural areas.

Wood chips are used as a source for cellulosic ethanol production at Range Fuels in Broomfield, Colorado.
Wood chips are used as a source for cellulosic ethanol production at Range Fuels in Broomfield, Colorado.

8. Beginning producers – including a growing number of veterans returning to the land – need technical assistance, credit and affordable crop insurance to get started and keep growing. This is especially important as we seek to reverse the rising average age of America’s farm population.

A veteran and participant of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program handles living basil at an organic hydroponic farm.
A veteran and participant of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program handles living basil at an organic hydroponic farm.

9. Producers and small business owners need a resolution of the Brazil cotton dispute that if left unsolved, threatens hundreds of millions of dollars annually in tariff penalties against U.S. agricultural products and other American-made goods.

Barge and ship traffic transporting export cargo on the Mississippi River in the Port of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Barge and ship traffic transporting export cargo on the Mississippi River.

10. And anyone who is concerned about the Federal deficit needs a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides meaningful deficit reduction.

Family of four has dinner together. Photo: Thinkstock
Family of four eats around the table. Photo: Thinkstock

These all are good reasons why a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill can’t wait. Americans across the country are impacted by this important legislation, and Congress must achieve passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.