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COMMENT: Progress Toward Building More Sustainable Food System Threatened by Cut

May 9, 2018


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
202-547-5754, rkovalcik@sustainableagriculture.net

Progress Toward Building a More Sustainable Food System Threatened by Cuts
Attacks on key programs would undermine Congress’ recent progress

Washington, DC, May 9, 2018 – The budget and appropriations news released this week, which includes the House’s passage of their FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill and the Administration’s release of a $15 billion rescission package, has serious implications for American farmers and ranchers. In response to the release of the aforementioned appropriations and budget proposals, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released the following statement:

“In the last two appropriations bills, NSAC has applauded Congress for funding the programs that help to ensure a profitable and sustainable future for American producers” said Greg Fogel, NSAC Policy Director.

“In the recently passed FY 2018 appropriations package, Congress chose to reject the Administration’s proposal to cut funds from the popular Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP),” said Fogel. “In the bill marked up by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today, we were once again heartened to see these critical conservation programs, which already struggle to meet producer demand, emerge with their funding intact. The Subcommittee’s bill also provided crucial funds for programs that support rural entrepreneurship (Value-Added Producer Grants), provide technical assistance for sustainable agriculture (ATTRA), and serve our socially disadvantaged, veteran, and beginning farmers (FSA loan programs, and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program).”

“However, by choosing to cut funding for sustainable agriculture research (cut by 14 percent), organic transition research (cut by 20 percent), and food safety training for small and mid-sized farmers (cut by 29 percent), the House threatens to undermine the very progress that it has so recently helped to achieve. We hope that as the bill moves forward through the legislative process, the House will protect these programs that support the integral diversity of our agricultural industry.”

“Finally,” said Fogel, “we must address the Administration’s proposed rescission package. We are alarmed by the proposed cuts to EQIP and Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), both of which have a proven track record of success and are widely lauded throughout the agricultural community. These programs provide a crucial service to food producing families and rural entrepreneurs, helping them to take their businesses to the next level through technical support, training, and funding support. It would be not only deeply ironic, but also incredibly harmful, for Congress to pass a FY 2019 funding bill with VAPG and EQIP funded only to reduce funding for the very same programs in the rescission package. We strongly urge Congress to remove these programs from consideration for rescissions prior to voting on the Administration’s proposal.”

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About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net


Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Food Safety, Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic, Press Releases, Research, Education & Extension


One response to “COMMENT: Progress Toward Building More Sustainable Food System Threatened by Cut”

  1. […] to funding, as both the House and Senate debate spending bills and potentially contend with a rescissions package in the coming months. At the same time, Congress will be debating farm bill policy and spending […]

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