NFFC Urges House to Enact Fair Farm Bill Policies

NFFCPress Room

Antonio Tovar
Senior Policy Associate
O. 202-543-5675 C. 954-260-4287


May 23, 2024, Washington, DC – The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) acknowledges the efforts of the House leadership in releasing the Food, Farm, and National Security Act. The Farm Bill presents an opportunity to establish impactful policies that promote access to quality food, support the vitality of rural communities and local economies, build resilience against environmental challenges like climate change, and ensure fairness for all farmers. Although the current bill falls short of addressing many concerns raised by our members, NFFC is eager to collaborate with House members from both political parties to achieve the main priorities outlined in our Farm Bill Platform.


Current federal dairy policies lack effective market regulation, forcing dairy farmers to scale up their operations to stay competitive or face going out of business. However, this approach leads to an unsustainable cycle where increased milk production saturates the market, making prices even more volatile..  The implementation of the Milk from Family Dairies Act, which is yet to be introduced, could provide the framework for a new dairy system. NFFC, with the support of more than 90 farmer groups and advocacy organizations, leads this effort and is ready to discuss this proposal further.

Simply focusing on existing programs, like the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, and export markets as has been customary will not resolve the challenges facing dairy farmers. Furthermore, the absence of safeguards against unfair trade practices in the proposal is concerning. The inclusion of the Fairness for Small-Scale Farmers and Ranchers Act (H.R.4979) which mandates country of origin labeling for dairy products, is crucial for addressing this issue. In 2023 alone, the US lost an additional 6% of its dairy businesses – America’s dairy farmers cannot wait any longer for a solution that tackles the root causes of this crisis.


Farmland is increasingly seen as an attractive (and profitable) investment opportunity by wealthy individuals and corporations, who are purchasing large plots of land at prices unattainable for small-scale, independent farmers. The Farmland for Farmers Act (S.2385) must be included in both chambers’ proposals to prevent additional land grabbing, and thus limit farmland cost.

At the same time, it is important to facilitate farmland access for the next generation of farmers; adding the Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act (H.R.3955) in the current Farm Bill must be considered. We similarly support the inclusion of the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) Improvement Act (H.R.7131), which provides better data and transparency to foreign farmland investment.


The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) plays a critical role as the lender of last resort for farmers and ranchers who struggle to access credit from commercial lenders. However, the FSA has faced criticism for unfair lending practices that disproportionately affect small-scale farmers and farmers of color. The Fair Credit for Farmers Act (H.R.5296), aims to address over-collateralization on farm loans, ensures that farmers can refinance existing debt, and improves transparency and fairness in the National Appeals Division (NAD). The inclusion of this act, along with credit provisions related to heirs property owners from the Justice for Black Farmers Act (H.R.1167), is crucial and should be considered in the ongoing discussions.

Local Food Systems

Many local food systems across the country are hindered by barriers that family farmers encounter when trying to access concentrated markets. NFFC appreciates the inclusion of the Local Farms and Food Act (H.R.2723) in the current proposal, which expands the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). However, there is a notable absence of reforms related to the Federal Meat Inspection Act’s personal-use exemption for on-farm slaughter practices. Additionally, the Seeds and Breeds for the Future Act (S.2023) will strengthen farm viability by supporting research and development into ready-to-use, regionally-adapted  and publicly available seed varieties and animal breeds.


Current federal farm policy generally supports industrial scale, multinational corporations and agribusinesses at the expense of family farmers and the average consumer. The Farm System Reform Act (H.R. 797) would, among other things, strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to crack down on the monopolistic practices of meatpackers and corporate integrators, and restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements.

Addressing these legislative points is essential for promoting a more equitable and sustainable agricultural system. Reforming federal farm policy to support family farmers over multinational agribusinesses can lead to more resilient local economies, better environmental practices, and improved food security.