When people think about the Farm Bill, they may picture healthy fields of grain, farmworkers safely picking peaches, or a table full of nutritious food.
But if this Farm Bill passes, it will be associated with degrading land, farmworkers exposed to toxic chemicals, and the loss of endangered species.
The Farm Bill provides funding and programs for our nation’s food security, nutrition, and conservation. It is the Farm Bill that authorizes SNAP (commonly known as food stamps), rural development and infrastructure, and is the biggest funder of conservation programs. Done right, the Farm Bill fosters food security and environmental sustainability. Instead, the current legislation, H.R. 2, goes after key conservation programs and bedrock laws.
This Farm Bill would be more accurately called the “Harm Bill.” Next week, your Representative will vote on this legislation, and needs hear from you that this is a non-starter.
Why is this Farm Bill so harmful? For starters, it harkens back to the Silent Spring era by eliminating Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and farmworker protections for pesticide use. Entities could apply pesticides directly to our water supplies and kill species like whooping cranes, salmon, and California condors, without any liability. New pesticides could go to market without any safeguards for the farmworkers exposed to them.
For its pesticide provisions alone, the Harm Bill would poison water, wildlife, and workers. But that’s not all.
This legislation would cut funding to conservation programs, like the Conservation Stewardship Program, by almost $1 billion. These programs are essential for advancing soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on farm land. National forest stakeholders will lose out to the logging industry through waivers of the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Roadless Rule. Finally, our own democracy takes a hit: one provision restricts our right to enforce agricultural law through the courts, while expanding judicial access for industry.
Tell your Representative that you want a Farm Bill that protects our food, environment, and workers, not a Harm Bill.