The government has asked for the public’s opinion on the upcoming Farm Bill and gave Food System Lobbyists a deadline to get your opinions in by Friday, March 31st. For AFA’s asks and your opinions to match, saying you support our precise language submissions has the absolute most impact because then when we tell them we have their constituents/voters asking for this, they are able to see that yes, we have many voters who support our asks.
Quick advice: Submission Rejections could happen for some of these 3 reasons so re-edit (Consider saving your customizations somewhere before you hit submit):
- Word Limits – Each freeform question may have word limits. Not everyone is experiencing this, but if yours gets rejected, reduce your word count
- Customize – Rejections can happen if you don’t customize as the government portal may think you’re a bot. Customize language with your bio perhaps before you input AFA’s language: “I have been vegan for 13 years and am super passionate about correcting our food system”.
- 2 Mandatory Address Lines – if you own a home and don’t have 2 address lines, copy/paste your address into both.
Instructions for House Submission
Step 1 – Click on the House Submission Portal and make sure it opens in a new browser window: https://agriculture.house.gov/forms/form/?ID=2
Step 2 – Fill out your personal info.
Step 3 – Question: Which of the following best describes the type of work of the organization you are representing? (select one) * – Select: Consumer Advocacy Organization
Step 4 – Question: Are your comments on behalf of an organization? If so, what organization are you representing? (If you are representing yourself, please write “self”)* – Write in: Agriculture Fairness Alliance
Step 5 – Question: Which of the 2018 Farm Bill titles do you or your organization have the most interest in? (select all that apply) * – Don’t Select all; Select these as they will match your comments later:
|Title I, Commodity Programs|
|Title II, Conservation|
|Title III, Trade|
|Title IV, Nutrition|
|Title V, Credit|
|Title VI, Rural Development|
|Title VII, Research, Extension, and Related Matters|
|Title XI, Crop Insurance|
Step 6 – Question: Which programs included in the 2018 Farm Bill do you think are performing well? (please explain) * – Please Edit language slightly or re-order so that it doesn’t get rejected for being exact.
The current system is failing. How can anyone say that programs are doing what they are supposed to or performing well to anyone except mega Ag operations? We have watched the following failures increase exponentially in the last 2 years:
1.The largest fraud in history via CFAP payments
2. Year over year insurance claims increasing on dead animals in areas that have yearly floods, heatwaves & blizzards
3. Food inflation at 30% while corporations are seeing 30% Profit increases, almost exact to our bailout money
4. Factory Farms taking Green Money designed to protect the environment without any real oversight
5. An uptick in diseases & cruel culling practices in response to them
6. Organic definitions including Hormone drugs like Oxytocin to be approved.
Step 7 – Question: Which programs included in the 2018 Farm Bill do you think could be improved upon or should be reconsidered? (please explain) * Please Edit language slightly or re-order so that it doesn’t get rejected for being exact – Consider adding who you are, how long you’ve lived where you have & why the food system is important to you, followed by your support for AFA and the themes below:
Title I, Commodity Programs: Expand funding for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers to ensure they receive their fair share of support, as only 3% of current funding goes to these vital sectors. Promote transitioning programs for livestock farmers who are struggling financially and experiencing losses due to disease and climate-related factors, providing them with the necessary resources and support to transition to fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming.
Title II, Conservation: Expand funding for conservation programs that prioritize & include sustainable farming practices and support fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers in adopting these practices. Ensure that conservation funding is distributed fairly and that fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers receive an equitable share of these resources.
Title III, Trade: Support fair trade policies that prioritize fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers and expand their access to global markets. Ensure that the trade policies benefit all farmers and not just the mega polluting livestock farmers.
Title IV, Nutrition: Expand funding for existing health & Nutrition programs that promote access to healthy fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi in underserved communities. Support programs that incentivize farmers to grow these crops in areas where they are needed the most, promoting racial equity to BIPOC communities.
Title V, Credit: Expand credit opportunities for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers who often have limited access to financing compared to their livestock farming counterparts. Encourage lending institutions to prioritize sustainable farming practices and diversification of crops, creating a level playing field for all farmers.
Title VI, Rural Development: Invest in rural development programs that support the growth of fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming and connect small farmers with local markets. Ensure that these programs provide equitable support for all fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers and not just large livestock, livestock feed and dairy operations.
Title VII, Research, Extension, and Related Matters: Expand funding for research into sustainable farming practices that support fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming, and encourage the adoption of these practices through extension programs. Provide support for researchers and extension agents to work with farmers on the ground to identify solutions to the challenges they face, including transitioning to new crops and farming practices.
Title XI, Crop Insurance: Expand Crop definitions so that crop insurance policies provide adequate coverage for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers, who often face unique challenges and risks compared to livestock farmers. Expand crop insurance options that promote diversification of crops and sustainable farming practices, supporting the transition away from livestock farming.
Additional Themes that need to be improved upon:
Large Farms Power & Control – Big agriculture operations do not require government assistance and are exploiting their clout with our taxes. It is high time to adopt an income-based support system with Farmer Funds, similar to the SNAP funds program. I urge you to introduce income restrictions and maximums for eligibility and participation.
Sweeping Fairness to Plant Based Foods Across the Board – A staggering 97% of this Farm Bill focuses on livestock, to the detriment of feeding Americans. This is not a vegan issue, but a matter that affects everyone. The clear-cut favoritism toward livestock must cease immediately, as no consumer desires this.
FSA Payment Oversight – The Farm Bill mandates the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to diligently supervise payment programs and prioritize the prevention of fraudulent activities. Yet, during the implementation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 1 and 2, the FSA failed to live up to this mandate, resulting in multi-million dollar exploitation of the program. This disregard has significantly impacted the current inflation rate. The idea that there are insufficient funds for the intended beneficiaries is false, for the crackdown on fraudulent activities frees up financial resources for those genuinely in need.
Step 8 – Question: Are there any new programs or ideas that you or the organization that you represent would like to see considered for the 2023 Farm Bill? (please explain)* Please Edit language slightly or re-order so that it doesn’t get rejected for being exact.
Farmers may want to transition from livestock to fruit, vegetable, grain, legume, and fungi farming for various reasons, including economic ones. Continuing to rely on government subsidies and funds is not a sustainable long-term solution, and transitioning to other crops can help farmers become more financially independent. Additionally, transitioning can improve soil health and reduce the environmental impact of farming. Our Farms Transition legislation aims to provide the necessary resources and support for farmers to make this transition, including technical assistance, financial resources, and marketing assistance. By investing in the transition to more sustainable and diversified farming practices, we can reduce the need for government funding and create a more resilient and equitable food system.
Step 9 – Question: Please include any additional information you feel is beneficial to your submission.
Please Edit language slightly or re-order so that it doesn’t get rejected for being exact.
It’s time to start including consumers in this discussion. It’s our taxes and our environment. And it’s time that we stop unconditionally supporting only livestock and livestock feed farmers. The current food system isn’t working and to just do what we’ve done before is going to come with irrevocable consequences. As a constituent, I am tired of seeing this country destroyed, my ability to feed my family becoming constrained and tired of everyone being affected by livestock diseases. Beyond that what we are doing to animals is devastating and unethical. Here are some of the things that are important to me this Farm Bill: Income-based eligibility: Government assistance programs, such as SNAP, have an income threshold, and the same should be applied to farm subsidies to support those who need it most. Eliminating monopolies: Monopolies should not be eligible for farm subsidies, and we must prioritize supporting smaller farmers. Fairness to plant-based foods: The Farm Bill should focus on creating a fair and sustainable food system for all, rather than favoring the livestock industry. Reducing government dependency: We must transition away from supporting failing operations indefinitely. FSA payment oversight: The Farm Service Agency must prioritize fraud prevention and oversight of payment programs to ensure that resources are allocated fairly. Overlapping subsidies: We need to eliminate the practice of overlapping subsidies, as it is a waste of taxpayer money and does not benefit food costs. International owners and exports: Taxpayer dollars should not be used to support international farm owners or subsidize exports that do not benefit American consumers.