AGree Issues 2013 Policy Proposals
February 8th, 2013
AGree, an initiative to seek consensus on proposals to transform food, agriculture, conservation, energy, nutrition policies, today issued some near-term recommendations for the 2013 Farm Bill and other food and agriculture-related legislation.
The five areas included - immigration and work force issues, nutrition and food systems, conservation, young people in food and agriculture, and agricultural research and extension – are also the five areas in which AGree is undertaking more intensive work to develop longer-term positions and proposals. Broad directional statements about that longer-term vision are included in the papers released today.
The highlight of today’s position papers, however, are the more immediate 2013 recommendations to policy makers.
For instance, AGree proposes that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be protected from “detrimental funding cuts and harmful structural changes that would undermine the program’s ability to serve the food insecure.”
With respect to immigration reform, AGree calls for “reform that provides a path to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., particularly those working in the food and agriculture sectors.” They also support “a simple, efficient, and fair guest worker program that allows producers to hire seasonal foreign workers.”
Quite a number of the new AGree recommendations track very closely with NSAC positions on the next farm bill. For instance, AGree endorses:
- Re-attaching conservation requirements to federal subsidies for crop insurance premiums;
- Increased funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program;
- Increased flexibility for schools to procure local, healthy food through the federal school meal programs;
- Support for EBT technoloogy to help connect federal nutrition program participants with fresh, local food at farmers’ markets;
- Funding incentives for the farmer-to-consumer purchase of fruits and vegetables through the SNAP program;
- Funding for the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program; and
- Opposition to provisions in the House and Senate farm bills from last year that would micromanage and slow down requests for proposals for agricultural research projects.
NSAC appreciates the support from AGree on these positions and looks forward to continued dialogue as the longer-term policies are developed within the AGree process.
AGree is co-chaired by former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley, Stonyfield Farm Chairman Gary Hirshberg, and former USAID Assistant Administrator for Growth, Agriculture, and Trade Emmy Simmons.
It is funded by the Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Walton Family Foundation.