Family Farmers Applaud Defeat of Regressive House Farm Bill

Group Encourages Congress to Draft New Bill to Support Family Farmers, SNAP Recipients

Contact: Siena Chrisman, (917) 821-9631, sienachrisman@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 18, 2018

WASHINGTON: National Family Farm Coalition is encouraged by the bipartisan defeat of the farm bill in the House of Representatives today. The proposed legislation offered little to support family farmers, while proposing punitive work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), making detrimental changes to conservation, and cutting funding for important programs that support local food systems.

“This bill missed a key opportunity to fix the ongoing crisis in the dairy sector and the downturn in the farm economy. With the bill’s defeat, Congress can now go back to work to draft a true bipartisan farm bill – one that is supportive of family farmers, rural communities, SNAP recipients, and the environment,” said Jim Goodman, Wisconsin dairy farmer and NFFC board president.

In a letter sent to Congressional agriculture leadership and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue last month, NFFC and over 50 allied organizations proposed several measures to address the dairy crisis, including setting a floor price of $20 per hundred pounds of milk and implementation of a supply management program to ensure dairy farmers are protected from price drops due to oversupply. Supply management policies are attracting increased attention in recent months from farmers and policy experts who see them as common sense provisions to stabilize farm prices.

“As farmers, we are not allowed to get paid what it costs us to raise our cows and make milk,” said Brenda Cochran, dairy farmer from Westfield, Pennsylvania. “Every other business can set its price based on cost of operations, but the current farm bill does not allow us to do that. This is causing undue stress on our families, our lives, and our farms. It’s time for the farm bill to stop protecting corporate agriculture’s interests and instead support family farmers’ rights as required by law.”

As Congress reconsiders the farm bill, NFFC reminds policymakers that the growth and vitality of family farms is recognized by law. 7 USC Section 2266 (a) reads, in part, “Congress believes that the maintenance of the family farm system of agriculture is essential to the social well-being of the Nation and the competitive production of adequate supplies of food and fiber. Congress further believes that any significant expansion of nonfamily owned large-scale corporate farming enterprises will be detrimental to the national welfare.”

###