“Late last night, the House Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill that slashes the food stamp safety net during an economic recession, dismantles programs supporting sustainable agriculture and fails to address the corporate control of America’s food system from seeds to supermarkets. The House Agriculture Committee bill further entrenches the corporate control of food and agriculture while curtailing or eliminating the few programs that encourage beginning farmers and ranchers and facilitate the transition to organic farming.
“The House Farm Bill also weakens the already woefully inadequate federal oversight of genetically engineered crops, livestock and food. The proposed bill would allow farmers to cultivate unapproved genetically engineered crops before the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have finished studying the potential impact of the proposed new crops on consumers, farmers and the environment.
“The legislation also fails to address the impact of rampant consolidation in the meatpacking, agribusiness, food processing and retail sector on consumers and farmers. The last Farm Bill made some important first steps to ensure that livestock producers received fairer prices and contracts. The House Agriculture Committee’s version of the Farm Bill ends even the small provisions on contract fairness that survived the meatpacker and poultry company lobbying assault on the sensible provisions required by the last Farm Bill.
“As the Congress moves forward and the Senate and House reconcile their different Farm Bill measures, the conference committee should reject House cuts to the nutrition title, conservation title, programs supporting organic and sustainable farming, and the repeal of the improvements to livestock reforms from the 2008 Farm Bill.”