Farm Bill Raises Concerns For Organic Farmers

The farm bill has returned and a host of agricultural experts and organic farmers believe the latest version of the legislation protects biotech giants like Sygenta, DuPont, and Monsanto while causing harm to family farmers. Members of the House and Senate met recently to begin the process of reconciling their respective versions of the massively thick farm.

Bee colony collapse disorder could be propelled even further without changes chemical pesticide use and GMO seed policies, according to some agricultural experts and organic farmers.The House provision to the farm bill could be a substantial step towards protecting the long-term viability of populations of honey bees, wild bees, and other beneficial pollinators. “By greatly improving federal coordination in addressing the dramatic decline of managed and native pollinators as well as directing the government to regularly monitor and report on their health,” a Center for Food Safety release states.

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) was initiated in the 2002 farm bill. The agriculture bill has routinely offered organic certification cost share for farmers. The short-term version of the farm bill extension which was enacted at the beginning of 2013 did not include the NOCCSP program.

“No other sector of agriculture was as hard hit by this funding hiatus as the organic sector,” the Center for Food Safety noted in a recent release. The organization added that renewing funding for the NOCCSP program and related projects is critical for organic agriculture farms in the United States. The highly controversial House of Representatives provision initially authored by Representative Steve King negates both state and local agricultural production and manufacturing laws. If King’s provision remains in the farm bill, even laws approved by voters via ballot amendments or respective state legislatures, can be blocked by the federal government.

Organic Consumers had this to say about Representative King’s farm bill provision:

The King Amendment is intended to block California from implementing a law, already passed, that requires farm animals to be given enough space to spread their limbs and turn around. But the way the amendment is written, it would take away states’ rights to pass laws on food and farming, including GMO labeling laws like the ones passed earlier this year in Maine and Connecticut, and the citizens’ initiative we’re working so hard to … The King Amendment is only in the House version of the bill, so the conference committee could choose to drop it. And the committee is a lot more likely to do that if members get thousands of phone calls from constituents warning them not to pass this anti-democratic law that helps factory farms, hurts animals and takes away states’ rights to regulate food and farming.

How do you feel about the farm bill?

[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]