House Farm Bill Attacked by Large Group of Chefs, Nutritionists and More
Legislators are hearing that the farm bill proposed by the House Agriculture Committee would steer the next five years of national food and farm policy in the wrong direction. That's the opinion of more than 60 chefs, authors, food and agriculture policy and nutrition experts, business leaders and environment and health organizations who sent an open letter to Capitol Hill. Those signing the letter urged lawmakers to vote a resounding no if the legislation comes to the floor for a vote - unless it is extensively rewritten through the amendment process. Among other things - signers of the letter would like to see amendments that support local, healthy and organic food and provide full funding for nutrition assistance programs. As written - they say the House farm bill would continue sending billions to agribusinesses and weaken regulations around pesticides and genetically modified crops rather than making real reforms to alleviate hunger, strengthen stewardship and boost rural economies.
The letter was initiated out of frustration over the 16-billion dollars in cuts to nutrition programs and 6.1-billion dollar conservation cut. The leaders on the letter organized a similar letter denouncing the Senate version of the farm bill last month. One of those - author Anna Lapp - says the group is speaking up for millions of Americans who share the belief that the farm bill should use taxpayer dollars wisely and fairly. Lappé says the legislation should promote healthy food, reward farmers who are good stewards of the land and provide much needed resources for struggling families to put food on the table.
The letter expresses deep concern that the bill would continue to give away tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to the largest commodity crop growers, insurance companies and agribusinesses while drastically underfunding programs to protect natural resources, invest in beginning and disadvantaged farmers, revitalize local food economies and promote health and food security.
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