The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Thursday released a 140-page report for the group's recommendations for the next farm bill, expected to pass Congress in 2023.
NSAC lists a list of 130-plus local, regional and national farm, conservation and rural life groups that are part of the coalition and its recommendations.
NSAC calls for reforming the commodity programs and strengthening antitrust and competition enforcement in agriculture by modernizing the Packers and Stockyards Act. The coalition also wants to expand access to crop insurance while using crop insurance to promote conservation practices, "linking premium subsidies to stewardship practices that protect our land, water and health."
NSAC also calls for bolstering programs such as loans for beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers. The group also wants to scale up credit programs at USDA "in order to appropriately accommodate farmers at multiple points n their careers and to address the needs of a diverse range of operation," including more diversified farms and those that sell directly to consumers.
A lot of NSAC's proposals will run into headwinds in a GOP-led House and counter what the commodity groups and crop insurance industry support. Still, NSAC has a long history of advancing farm policies beyond the commodity programs.
DEM CLIMATE PROPOSALS
The House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition's Climate and Agriculture Task Force, chaired by Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree of Maine and Kim Schrier of Washington, also released a report on policy recommendations for the farm bill as well to ensure it is as climate-friendly as possible.
"Increasingly our farmers are experiencing the impacts of climate change firsthand," said Pingree.
Pingree and Schrier both serve on the House Agriculture Committee, but they will move from the majority to the minority in January.
"The next farm bill represents a significant moment for Congress to deliver the urgent resources needed to support farmers dealing with extreme weather and incentivize America's agriculture sector to take action in the fight against climate change," Pingree said.
The report includes a broad set of ideas and practices, Schrier said.
"Many of our farmers and forest landowners have already developed creative ideas about how to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change," Schrier said.
The report from the group of Democratic lawmakers includes proposals for renewable energy, food waste, expanding research initiatives and boosting funding for organic programs. The report also calls for expanding Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that promote soil health. The recommendation also calls incorporating carbon reduction and carbon sequestration into popular conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program. (CSP).
USDA IRA FUNDING
Tied to those conservation programs, the Inflation Reduction Act provided USDA $19.5 billion to incorporate climate-smart practices into multiple conservation programs. The department on Wednesday posted a notice in the Federal Register asking for public input on how to implement the funds for NRCS conservation programs under the IRA. USDA will seek comments on how to target the programs until Dec. 22, 2022. "NRCS will identify immediate changes that can be made in fiscal year 2023 and will continue to identify and adopt additional changes in future years."
The funding was included for EQIP, CSP, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), as well as technical assistance. The funds must go to help lower greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and improve soil health practices.
Federal Register Notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/…
- House Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coalition https://seec-tonko.house.gov/…
-National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 2023 Farm Bill Platform https://sustainableagriculture.net/…
EPA Names New Farm, Ranch, Rural Advisory Committee
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan on Wednesday announced the appointment of 20 members, including the new committee chair and committee vice chair, to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC), which provides independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to the EPA administrator on a range of environmental issues that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities.
Beth Sauerhaft of the American Farmland Trust and Raymon Shange of Tuskegee University will lead the FRRCC, which includes 20 newly appointed members who will join 17 existing members of the committee. Committee members include representatives from academia, industry (e.g., agriculture and allied industries), non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments.
The names of the new and returning members were listed in an EPA news release.
-EPA announces selection of members to Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee https://www.epa.gov/…
DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom contributed to this report.
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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