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April 26, 2012 

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill

Bill Leaves Room for Improvement on Local Farmer Support, Conservation Efforts, and Research

WASHINGTON (April 25, 2012) – The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) believes the Farm Bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee today offers a unique opportunity to influence what the nation’s farmers grow—and how they grow it—for years to come.

As the Farm Bill moves forward, the Senate should continue to address the barriers hindering the expansion of local and regional food systems, conservation programs, and research.

Below is a statement by Justin Tatham, Senior Washington Representative for the Food & Environment Program at UCS:

“The Union of Concerned Scientists lauds Senators Stabenow and Roberts for kicking off the Farm Bill deliberations with a bipartisan committee bill. In some regards, progress has been made, but more needs to be done to expand the production of local and healthy food, ensure basic levels of on-farm conservation, promote the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, and foster a more robust research agenda.

“The 2012 Farm Bill must consider the needs of healthy food farmers. The direction in the committee bill to develop a whole-farm revenue program that offers effective insurance coverage nationwide is a huge step in helping small, local farmers. Funding included in the bill for programs to support organic food production and expand local food systems is critical.

“However, additional funding and policy changes are needed to help these growing sectors of the agriculture economy reach their full potential. Organic farmers in particular still have a tough row to hoe with the bill’s failure to eliminate an unnecessary insurance premium surcharge placed on organic producers. 

“While we are pleased with the inclusion of a provision to establish a sodsaver requirement connected to crop insurance and commodity subsides, we believe the absence of conservation compliance requirements for crop and revenue insurance is a critical flaw.” 

 

 

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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