06.20.12

Healthy Food, Conservation Leaders Support Senate Farm Bill Reforms

  • National conservation and healthy food leaders today joined Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to again voice their support for the reforms in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2012 Farm Bill) – currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.
  • Jerry Hagstrom, of The National Journal and Hagstrom Report, reported that healthy and local food advocates called the bill “a huge step forward” while national conservation leaders echoed the same sentiment, noting “we look forward to advancing this farm bill.

 

Senate to resume farm bill debate before noon (excerpt)

By Jerry Hagstrom

June 20, 2012

Michel Nischan, the owner of The Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, Conn., and the founder of Wholesome Wave, a group that encourages food stamp beneficiaries to buy more fruits and vegetables from local farmers, praised the bill for including incentives for food stamp beneficiaries to buy foods that will allow them to eat healthier.

“We think this bill is a huge step forward.,” Nischan said.

Robert Guenther, the co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and senior vice president of the United Fresh Produce Association, praised the bill for continuing the specialty crop programs in the 2008 farm bill, especially the fresh snack program for school children that feeds 3 million children every day.

Gene Schmidt, president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, said that the bill “works for American agriculture and protects the natural resources for the future.”

Becky Humphries, director of the Great Lakes/Atlantic region for Ducks Unlimited, said the hunters and anglers who belong to her group have an impact of $76 billion per year and are particularly pleased with the sod-saver provision and regional conservation partnerships.

“We look forward to advancing this farm bill,” Humphries said.

In making her final campaign for the Senate to pass the bill, Stabenow maintained her position that reform is the most important message of the farm bill.

“Agriculture is still the riskiest business ever,” she said. Government needs to be there to maintain the safest, most abundant food supply in the world, Stabenow said, and needs to be there for the farmer when it’s needed, but not spend money when it’s not.