WASHINGTON, March 20 – The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released a 2012 Farm Bill policy platform – Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food & Farm Bill – which it said, if adopted, would expand opportunities for family farmers to produce “good” food, sustain the environment, and contribute to vibrant communities.
“Congress should not delay the adoption of a new farm and food bill,” said Susan Prolman, NSAC Executive Director. “The new bill, though, should be comprehensive and forward-looking, not a rush job that ignores the big issues in favor of short-term expediency.”
The Senate and House Agriculture committees hope to complete work on their respective versions of the multi-year legislation by June.
Farming for the Future spans nearly title in the farm bill and according to NSAC, reflects a comprehensive approach to farm policy reform that will:
- Create jobs and spur economic growth through food and farms;
- Invest in the future of American agriculture;
- Enhance our natural resources and improve agricultural productivity;
- Drive innovation for tomorrow’s farmers and food entrepreneur; and
- Make healthy food widely available today and for generations to come.
The 112-page document is the culmination of two years of policy work with a broad, diverse coalition of over 90 grassroots organizations from across the country, NSAC said.
Among other things, the platform recommends that Congress impose “meaningful and effective caps” on all farm and conservation program payments, maintain level funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and make it easier for new producers to access land, credit and crop insurance.
“Slow job recovery, a rapidly aging farm population, accelerating erosion and nutrient pollution, and atrophied regional food infrastructure can be viewed as a crisis or an opportunity,” said Prolman. “Done right, a new farm bill can be part of the solution, putting in place building blocks for a more sustainable future of thriving farms, healthy food, and strong communities.”
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