DRAFT FARM BILL (House), As of April 12, 2018 – Notes from NSAC & American Farmland Trust


Notes below are from our friend at the
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC),   Ariana Taylor-Stanley | Northeast Regional Organizer, Northeast Farm Bill Organizing Project – In partnership with American Farmland Trust.

Here is NSAC’s press release on the draft bill as a whole.
Here is a statement from American Farmland Trust on the draft bill.

Here are some quick takes from NSAC (with input from AFT) on how our priorities fared in the draft, along with links to blog posts taking a deeper look. We’ll have more posts coming out throughout the weekend on our blog.

Local and Regional Food Systems & Rural Development

Read more here

Glad to see:

Mixed bag:

  • Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program reauthorized but proposed expansion to include low-income veterans and commensurate increase in funding not included. Flat funding $20.6m/yr mandatory.
  • Food Safety Outreach Program reauthorized but not provided any mandatory funding; proposed policy changes to the program were not included that would enhance community-based organizations’ ability to access the program.
  • Gives USDA authority to conduct pilots to test mobile technology for SNAP benefits which could provide new methods for accepting SNAP at farmers markets, CSAs etc.

Of concern:

Not included:

  • Proposed Food Safety Cost Share Program not included.
  • No-cost provision on geographic preference to support farm-to-school initiatives not included.
  • Proposed Harvesting Health Pilot (produce prescriptions) not included.

Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

Read more here

Glad to see:

Mixed bag:

Of concern:

Conservation – Including Working Lands Conservation Programs

Read more here

Glad to see:

Of concern:

  • Repeals Regional Equity provision
  • Allows 100% forested land to be eligible for ACEP-Agricultural Land Easements
  • Elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). (“Stewardship Contracts” added to EQIP to replace CSP do not retain the core features of CSP)
  • Funding for the two major working lands programs, EQIP and CSP, would be cut by nearly $5 billion over 10 years
  • Conservation Reserve Program acreage increase comes at the expense of payment rates and incentive payments within the continuous CRP enrollment, which would have negative implications for new conservation buffers and partial field enrollments

Research

Read more here

Glad to see:

Of concern:

Not included:

Crop Insurance and Commodities

Read more here

Glad to see:

Of concern:

Not included:

  • No significant provisions to expand access to crop insurance for diversified, organic, and direct-to-market producers through improvements to Whole Farm Revenue Protection, NAP, or outreach and training programs.