Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Farm Bill Extension in Fiscal Cliff Deal a Disgrace

Farm Bill Extension in Fiscal Cliff Deal a Disgrace

EcoWatch

Buried in the 150-page “fiscal cliff” tax bill passed New Year's Day is a last-minute farm bill extension that buys time for Congress to craft and debate food and farm policy for the long haul since they failed to complete a much-needed overhaul of the federal farm programs in 2012.

Instead of eliminating the wasteful direct payments program, the bill passed by Congress cuts funding for organic agriculture, clean water and beginning farmer initiatives. The extension perpetuates the widely discredited direct payment farm subsidies that will send $5 billion this year alone to large farming operations that already reap record profits.

This move short-changed American farmers and consumers, according to Justin Tatham, senior Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program.

“The Farm Bill extension included in the fiscal cliff package is a disgrace. For half a year, the Senate and House debated versions of a new Farm Bill that would have made some progress toward eliminating subsidies for Big Ag and shifting incentives to healthy food and smart, sustainable farming practices. But Republican leadership copped out at the last second. Support for healthy farms became agricultural runoff, while massive commodity subsidies remain in place," said Tatham.

“Incentives for fruit and vegetable production and much-needed programs that protect our air, water and soil will now lose funding. The Farm Bill extension is a blow to farmers who want to grow healthy foods and the consumers who want to buy them," continued Tatham.

According to Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, “This extension reflects the skewed priorities that continue to produce a totally unbalanced farm and food policy. Soil erosion, land conversion and water pollution from farm chemicals are enormous challenges. Yet this extension will hobble a major conservation program, while channeling billions in cash payments to already highly profitable farm businesses. It makes little sense to cut support for organics—the fastest growing sector of the agriculture economy—and to curtail a long list of other initiatives designed to increase access to healthy food and create new economic opportunities for family farms."

“This latest deal underscores for the good food movement why organizations like Food Policy Action are so important to the task of expanding federal government support for innovative food and agriculture policies,” Cox said. “Without significant pressure on Congress and the White House, we can be sure that efforts to improve access to healthy food and reduce dangerous chemicals in the environment will fail.”

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and FARM BILL pages for more related news on this topic.

 

Air France airplanes parked at the Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport on March 24, 2020. SAMSON / AFP via Getty Images

France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A woman looks at a dead gray whale on the beach in the SF Bay area on May 23, 2019; a new spate of gray whales have been turning up dead near San Francisco. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A small tourist town has borne the brunt of a cyclone which swept across the West Australian coast. ABC News (Australia) / YouTube

Tropical Cyclone Seroja slammed into the Western Australian town of Kalbarri Sunday as a Category 3 storm before grinding a more-than 600-mile path across the country's Southwest.

Read More Show Less
A general view shows the remains of a dam along a river in Tapovan, India, on February 10, 2021, following a flash flood caused by a glacier break on February 7. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

By Rishika Pardikar

Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous youth, organizers with the Dakota Access and Line 3 pipeline fights and climate activists march to the White House to protest against pipeline projects on April 1, 2021. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Indigenous leaders and climate campaigners on Friday blasted President Joe Biden's refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review, which critics framed as a betrayal of his campaign promises to improve tribal relations and transition the country to clean energy.

Read More Show Less