On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we urge you to vote NO on H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. This Farm Bill promotes corporate agriculture over American family farms, will result in even more corporate concentration across the agricultural industry and will harm family farmers, rural communities and the environment.
In this difficult farm economy, it is critical that public money is spent wisely, reaching the most family farmers possible. But too often and for too long, Farm Bill programs have supported corporate interests, including corporate-controlled industrial livestock operations, at the expense of independent farm families. The bill coming to the House floor ignores needed reforms to programs used extensively by industrialized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and eliminates programs and protections for family farmers.
One clear example is in the Conservation Title (Title II). The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was designed to provide cost-share and incentive payments to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns on their farms and it has been used by hundreds of thousands of farmers nationwide to make environmental improvements that benefit the land, family farm operations and their communities. At EQIP’s inception, CAFOs were excluded from eligibility for federal EQIP dollars and the maximum cost-share was $50,000.
Unfortunately, corporate industrial livestock special interests successfully worked to open up EQIP conservation funds to CAFOs, which house thousands of animals and generate massive quantities of manure, and to increase EQIP’s funding cap to $450,000. Since this time, CAFOs have used federal taxpayer dollars extensively to expand across the country in a time of low prices and over-production, working to drive independent livestock producers out of business.
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