Like most nonprofits advocating an equitable food system, NFFC has seemingly worked nonstop through 2021 to find allies on and beyond Capitol Hill. Thankfully, there were some positive results from our efforts, from bills introduced by congressional allies to NFFC’s launch of our long-awaited new dairy pricing proposal. Highlights of recent progress include:
In November, NFFC welcomed the Build Back Better Act passed by the House of Representatives, which we championed in an August 2021 letter to congressional leaders. The bill funds integral programs fostering economic resilience for farmers and ranchers, including research, conservation, and healthy forest investments. Most integral to our work are the $12 billion in debt relief funds for economically distressed farmers and outreach, education, and technical assistance for at-risk producers. We hope the Senate version passes soon and that it includes the social safety net programs necessary to help farmers and others to thrive through financial difficulties exacerbated by the pandemic, climate change, and other crises.
NFFC praised Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for holding a hearing on the dairy crisis in September. Senators heard from three independent dairy farmers, representatives of two regional processors, and an agriculture economist. NFFC calls on all members of Congress to show leadership for rural America by proposing meaningful, comprehensive, and systemic dairy policy reform.
In August, NFFC endorsed the Climate Stewardship Act introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has collaborated with Senator Booker on several pieces of farmer-friendly legislation, co-sponsored the bill (S. 1072). To learn more about NFFC’s perspective on the role that supply management can play in climate stewardship, we invite you to watch two short videos produced with ActionAid USA:
• Stop Overproduction to Stop Climate Change
• Taking the Climate Change Agenda Back from Corporations
Last but not least, in October NFFC was proud to introduce the 2021 Milk from Family Dairies Act. After nearly two years of conversations and conceptualization, the common-sense dairy policy proposal is designed to reform dairy pricing to benefit family dairy farmers and their communities, workers, the environment, and consumers – a concept endorsed by more than 90 farm, food, climate, environmental, and social justice organizations.
Please stay safe, stay tuned, and stay in touch.