House Farm Bill Fails – Time for a New Approach to Address Major Issues for Farmers, Rural Communities, and the Environment

May 18, 2018
Contact: Josh Wise, 952-818-5474, jwise@iatp.org
Ben Lilliston, 612-741-8650, blilliston@iatp.org

Today, the House of Representatives voted against a disastrous Farm Bill that was an affront to farmers, rural communities, our natural resources, and those struggling with hunger. The rejection of this partisan Farm Bill should send a signal to Congress that a dramatic re-set, grounded in fairness and sustainability, is needed in U.S. policy, says the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

In a statement, IATP’s Director of Rural Strategies and Climate Change, Ben Lilliston, said:

“The partisan House Farm Bill was remarkably and historically bad in that it would actually make critical challenges facing farmers and rural communities much worse. The bill did absolutely nothing to address problems in agriculture markets, causing a multi-year low price crisis in the farm economy. At the same time, it eliminated the most popular conservation program that supports farmers protecting the water, air, and soil, while building resilience to a changing climate. The House bill would have slashed rural development programs that are helping to launch new, job-generating rural businesses and cooperatives. It also eliminated essential energy programs that help rural areas transition toward renewable energy. Finally, the House Farm Bill would have push more than a million urban and rural households off Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Bad policy comes from bad process. Despite holding numerous field hearings around the country on the Farm Bill, House Agriculture Committee Chair, Michael Conaway (R-TX) decided to largely ignore what he heard, and put together a bill behind closed the doors. The result was a disaster. The failures of the House Farm Bill create a new opportunity in that Chamber to honestly face the challenges farmers and rural communities are facing – while removing harmful new policies to those facing hunger. It also places greater responsibility on the Senate Agriculture Committee to produce a strong Farm Bill grounded in the very real challenges facing farmers, rural communities, and those experiencing hunger.”

To help inform advocates, the media, and the public about the Farm Bill, IATP has collected over 20 years of Farm Bill analysis in an online portal: https://www.iatp.org/farm-bill-portal 

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Based in Minneapolis with offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin, Germany, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy connects the dots of global justice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems