Farm bill must include environmental issues, letter says

WASHINGTON – A letter signed by more than 150 organizations and addressed to President Joe Biden calls for the next farm bill to address economic inequality, racial divides, hunger, climate change, nutrition and food security while supporting farmers, workers and communities. Groups signing the Sept. 13 letter included the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, AFL-CIO, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Plant Based Food Institute, Sierra Club , The Land Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“President Biden has shown a deep understanding of the urgency of addressing the challenges facing our country, including the climate crisis, racial injustice and economic insecurity, and how to transform our food and agriculture system into one more resilient, equitable and sustainable is the key to addressing these challenges,” said Ricardo Salvador, PhD, senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ food and environment program. “The Farm Bill provides a pathway to build on historic investments in the Cut Inflation Act, reinforce key administrative actions already taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and advance the President’s values.” . “

To address racial justice, the farm bill could confront past discrimination, address systemic racism within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and invest in underserved communities, according to the letter. To fight hunger, the farm bill should protect and strengthen food assistance programs. The Farm Bill, to address the climate crisis, could invest in technical assistance and financial incentives that allow farmers and ranchers to reduce their emissions.

Implementing agricultural and labor policies could help farmers and workers withstand extreme weather conditions and protect workers from pesticides. The farm bill should also address pathogens that come from farms and endanger the US food supply, according to the letter.

Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill every five years. The next farm bill is scheduled for 2023 since the last farm bill, also known as the Farm Improvement Act of 2018, was passed in December 2018.

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