On the heels of the recent farm bill extension, 112 organizations working on issues spanning hunger and food access, farming, workers’ issues, rural communities and the environment have come together to call on Congress to craft a food and farm bill that rejects the status quo and finally addresses historic inequities, tackles the climate crisis, provides nutritious food to communities, fights corporate consolidation, and protects food and farmworkers.
The letter, sent to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership today, identifies 34 “marker bills” that, if included in the next food and farm bill, would help transform the U.S. food and agriculture system into one that is more sustainable, resilient and equitable, and that farmers, workers, and communities need and deserve. Lead letter authors include the Climate Justice Alliance, HEAL Food Alliance, Midwest Farmers of Color Collective, National Black Food & Justice Alliance, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition, Rural Coalition, Springfield Food Policy Council, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and United Food and Commercial Workers, working together as part of a coordinated campaign to transform the food and farm bill.
“This group of diverse organizations came together to endorse these 34 marker bills because they offer a road map to a more equitable and sustainable food system,” said Sophie Ackoff, farm bill campaign director at UCS. “It’s time for the food and farm bill to serve farmers, workers, and community members instead of corporate agribusiness. Congress should listen to the needs of frontline organizations and communities and incorporate these bills into a food and farm bill that President Biden can be proud to sign.”
Over the last few months, the UCS-coordinated transformative farm bill campaign’s advisory committee worked to find consensus on marker bills that align with the values of a transformative farm bill out of the hundreds of introduced farm bill marker bills. The letter serves as a platform for the campaign and a call to action to Congress to deliver these wins for the future of the food system.
UCS and partners launched the transformational farm bill campaign in September 2022 by calling on President Biden to ensure a farm bill that aligns with his values and centers farmers, workers, and communities over agribusiness interests. Over the last year, the campaign has also called for including food and farmworker protections in the farm bill and hosted a historic congressional hill briefing featuring food and farmworkers.
After failing to pass a new five-year food and farm bill before the expiration of the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the food and farm bill, Congress extended the 2018 legislation through September 30, 2024. Neither the House nor the Senate has produced draft legislation. The extension affords the agriculture committees breathing room and another chance to write a food and farm bill that rises to the challenge of the moment by making farm programs more equitable, enabling farmers to thrive in the face of a changing climate and be part of the solution, and creating a more secure and resilient food system.