Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has released his blueprint for the 2018 farm bill.
He says that its goal is to “improve services while reducing regulatory burdens on USDA customers”. Here are just some of what he wants to achieve:
• Provide a farm safety net that helps American farmers weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments.
• Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production while land retired for conservation purposes favor more environmentally sensitive acres.
• Improve U.S. market competitiveness by expanding investments, strengthening accountability of export promotion programs, and incentivizing stronger financial partnerships.
• Ensure the Farm Bill is consistent with U.S. international trade laws and obligations.
• Open foreign markets by increasing USDA expertise in scientific and technical areas to more effectively monitor foreign practices that impede U.S. agricultural exports and engage with foreign partners to address them.
• Support work as the pathway to self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility for individuals and families receiving supplemental nutrition assistance.
• Strengthen the integrity and efficiency of food and nutrition programs to better serve our participants and protect American taxpayers by reducing waste, fraud and abuse through shared data, innovation, and technology modernization.
• Assure the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process through greatertransparency and reliance on the most robust body of scientific evidence.
• Support nutrition policies and programs that are science based and data driven with clear and measurable outcomes for policies and programs.
• Reduce legal risk and regulatory impediments to timely environmental review, sound harvesting, fire management and habitat protection to improve forest health while providing jobs and prosperity to rural communities.
• Provide a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that reflects the Administration’s budget goals.
As my friend Marion Nestle is saying…Where is a vision for a farm bill that promotes health, sustainable agriculture, and small or mid-size farms, protects farm workers, and reduces greenhouse gases?
Let the lobbying begin!