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July 12, 2012 

House Farm Bill Fails to Support Healthy Food and Farms

Statement by Justin Tatham

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2012) – The House Agriculture Committee passed their version of the Farm Bill today. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the bill fails to adequately support healthy food and farms and pales in comparison to the Senate's Farm Bill, which passed last month.

Below is a statement by Justin Tatham, senior Washington representative for UCS's Food & Environment Program:

"The House version of the Farm Bill negates the significant progress made in the Senate. Instead, the bill continues to perpetuate farm policies that disproportionately lavish subsidies on large-scale commodity crop producers and heavily processed foods, feed, and fuel instead of healthy food. The bill reverses progress on subsidy reform and instead allows even more generous subsidy payments for farmers instead of ratcheting down these payments as has been the trend.

"In terms of crop insurance, which primarily benefits commodity crops, the House bill weakened the new whole farm revenue insurance program that would benefit diversified, organic and healthy food farmers – who are critically important for expanding the production of healthy food. The bill also pulled funding for important rural development programs that help farmers produce food in local and regional markets.

"Organic agriculture is also unfairly singled out in this bill. The House bill would eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, a program that provides much-needed assistance to organic farmers. Further, the bill fails to address the unnecessary insurance premium surcharge placed on organic producers.

"The bill backtracks on conservation by deepening cuts to important conservation programs, namely the Conservation Stewardship Program. It also fails to reestablish conservation compliance requirements for crop and revenue insurance programs, the main subsidy program for large scale, conventional agriculture in the Farm Bill."

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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