The grassroots organization, AFA is building momentum for pro-plant-based farm policy in Washington DC.
June 30, 2021, Washington DC
On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations legislation. The accompanying Committee print includes report language spearheaded by AFA. This language directs the USDA to help “small and mid-size farmers transition to agriculture methods such as specialty crop, horticulture, and forage production as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate the impacts of global climate change.”
AFA co-founder and CEO, Laura Reese, had this to say:
“Americans are learning from the scientific community that one of the best actions for climate change is to get our nutrients directly from plants. Citizens want their free-market choices to have an effect on production. They have made clear their desire for a more plant-centric diet. This AFA-requested report language is a key first milestone to helping create a more balanced farm policy that encourages farmers to transition to plant-based production.”
The Agriculture Fairness Alliance team and members are celebrating this first lobbying win which builds momentum for pro-plant-based farm policy in Washington DC. The language will give farmers the option to get assistance to transition to farming plants.
Unlike formal legislation, this ‘report’ language is more like a general instruction to the USDA telling them to help farmers transition to producing plants. The USDA has a lot of latitude in how it interprets this directive, so AFA will need to be there to make sure they understand it’s intended to help farmers like Dan and Paul. That’s why continued lobbying is so important.
AFA calls for the USDA to help farmers transition to plant-based production
The inclusion of this language is proof that grassroots groups can get their voices heard at the federal level, and that once these voices are heard, there can be an incredible return on investment.
The beauty of this public program is that it bridges farmers, pro-plant environmentalists, and policymakers towards the same goal. All of us want to see improvements to the food system and this is the first step in laying a foundation for more progress to come.
AFA’s partner farmers call for options to transition
AFA works with farmers around the nation who call on Congress to evolve farm policy toward promoting plant-protein production. One such Wisconsin dairy farmer wrote,
“A transition program would be a better, more permanent solution than the current insurance programs and one-time payments that we currently get. As a dairy farmer, I would much rather get funding to transition to something better than get funding to keep producing milk for a market that already has a surplus. I would feel better knowing I’m producing something in high demand that’s also benefiting the environment.”-Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Working with AFA
AFA lobbies for fairness in ag policy
AFA is a 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit. Founded in June 2019, AFA aims to bring fairness to farm policy. This is not just a maiden win for AFA. It’s a win for the wider movement of plant-powered environmental advocates. It’s a win for farmers, the environment, human health, and animals.
AFA’s first federal win
Laura Reese added,
“Lobbying, particularly grassroots lobbying in the public interest, is a long game. Following our launching of the Agriculture Fairness Alliance, my co-founder Connie Spence and I often were asked what a single lobbyist could accomplish. From this success, we know the clear answer to this question is that such a presence can succeed in positively influencing legislation and policy.
Of course, we have more work to do. But language like this being incorporated in this report is a great start. Credit for this inaugural win is shared with the AFA core team, our advocacy team — and of course our community of supporters including AFA members and champions. This achievement couldn’t have happened without them.
Looking ahead, we can see that activity relating to the next Agriculture Improvement Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, is well underway. In ag policy, the Farm Bill is everything. While it can appear daunting to some, in the Farm Bill we at AFA see 600-plus pages of draft legislation that is rife with opportunities for constructive intervention. With the continuing support of the AFA community, we will continue to invest in our organization, including hiring additional lobbyists, so that we are positioned to advocate successfully for a just transition to a sustainable, climate-friendly food system.”Laura Reese, AFA