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NATIONAL YOUNG FARMERS COALITION

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House Committee on Agriculture Passes a Draft Farm Bill Despite Opposition from Young Farmers and Partner Organizations

CONGRESSIONAL OVERVIEW

On Friday, May 17, 2024, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, released the first draft of the House Farm Bill, the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 (HR 8467). Young Farmers opposed the bill, and mobilized hundreds of advocates in direct and grassroots action to encourage House Agriculture Committee members to vote against it. The bill fails to prioritize equitable farmland access, divests from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and strikes climate provisions that would assist farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for extreme weather events.


On May 24, 2024, the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture reported the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 out of committee on a vote of 33-21 after a 13.5 hour hearing. All Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and were joined by Democratic Representatives Caraveo (D-CO-8), Sorensen (D-IL-17), Davis (D-NC-5), and Bishop (D-GA-2).

YOUNG FARMERS SUPPORTED AMENDMENTS

Some positive results from the markup hearing were that Committee Democrats unanimously supported the primary amendments Young Farmers endorsed, what our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) call “the big three amendments”: 1) restoring funds to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 2) preserving Inflation Reduction Act climate guard rails, and 3) removing Commodity Credit Corporation restrictions.

Title I: Commodities | Support Amendment #45: Reinstates the Secretary’s authority to use unspent Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds under the CCC Act. 

Why we’re supportive: COVID demonstrated the importance of the Secretary’s ability to respond to emergencies with the authority of the CCC. The current language would remove that ability to respond swiftly to support farmers and ranchers in times of crisis.

 

Title II: Conservation | Support Amendment #11: Reinstates the climate sideboards to Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding rolled into the conservation baseline to continue the focus on climate change. 

Why we’re supportive: Young farmers and farmers of color, who are starting farms and businesses with more uncertainty and extreme weather, are devoting their work to building resilience on their farms and in their communities. The removal of the climate focus from the Inflation Reduction Act would be detrimental to our nation’s food and agriculture systems and would slow our progress towards addressing the climate crisis.

 

Title XII: Miscellaneous | Support Amendment #19: Removes the requirement for cost neutrality from the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) and removes sections to privatize the SNAP workforce. 

Why we’re supportive: The changes in H.R. 8467 to the TFP would amount to a roughly $27 billion cut over the next ten years, drastically reducing support for the tens of millions of individuals and families facing food insecurity.

OPPOSED AMENDMENTS

Young Farmers also led advocacy on opposition to Amendment #9, which was unique from NSAC and larger progressive Democratic strategy. This position demonstrates our commitment to credit access and financial resource equity for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) producers. 

Title V: Credit | Amendment #9: Repeals rule 1071 of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which requires financial institutions, including lenders in the Farm Credit System, to track and report business and commercial loan applicant demographics, including race and gender. 

Why we opposed: This rule was, and continues to be a major victory for family farmers, and for food and farm groups who were instrumental in advocating for more transparency in commercial agricultural lending. “Rule 1071 rule is pro-farmer,” and “pre-market”. Young, beginning, and small farmers have consistently demanded more transparent and fair markets, and that having accurate and public data concerning the demographics primarily served by agricultural lenders will help farmers and consumers make better-informed financial decisions. Section 1071 will help lenders identify unmet credit needs and expand to new markets, especially in underserved and rural communities.

WHAT THIS VOTE MEANS FOR YOUNG FARMERS

Despite the disappointing outcome of the vote, this was just a first step in the process of passing a final Farm Bill. We are grateful to the Members of Congress that spoke out during the markup hearing for climate resilience, food access, and supporting the above amendments. We appreciate the message their amendment votes send about the importance of these issues for young and BIPOC farmers, their families, and communities both in their states and nationwide. While we hoped these members would have voted against the bill given its distance from addressing the issues that matter most to young farmers, we recognize the need to move the Farm Bill process forward and the pressure being applied by interest groups in this process. 

 

Young farmers are the future of agriculture in this country and they deserve a Farm Bill that addresses their key challenges, invests in their success, and builds food and farm systems they can not only survive in, but thrive in. We are disappointed to see this bill fall short of making this investment in the new generation, but there is much more work that can be done to ensure that the final bill includes our priorities for farmland access, climate action, nutrition assistance, farmer mental health and wellbeing, and more. Now is not the time to lose motivation or to disengage with the Farm Bill process; we need to advocate now more than ever to ensure a final Farm Bill that doesn’t leave young farmers behind.

OUR STRATEGY AND HOW TO ENGAGE

Young Farmers and our partners will continue advocating for federal farm policy that addresses the needs of the new generation of farmers and ranchers regardless of this outcome in the House process. We look forward to working with our champions in the House to ensure the final Farm Bill moves us toward a more equitable food and agriculture system. If you have a House Agriculture Committee member who joined you in opposing the bill, or in supporting the amendments we endorsed, this is a great opportunity to thank them. You can tag them on social media posts, send their staffer a note, or even draft a more formal thank you letter to the member via post.

 

Make sure you’re signed up for our Farm Bill Action network, and opt-in to text alerts, so that we can keep you posted on Farm Bill updates and share opportunities to let Congress know your top priorities. We’re also excited to announce that everyone who signs up for the network or takes one of our actions will receive a complimentary one-year Young Farmers Community Membership!

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