Legislation to Remove Barriers to Local Farms and Food
April 9th, 2013
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine today introduced their Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 679 and H.R. 1414).
The bill was previously introduced in 2011 and parts of the bill were included in the five-year farm bills that were worked on, but not finalized, in the Senate and House last year. The new version of the bill is aimed at inclusion in the five-year farm bills the Senate and House will develop again this year.
The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act addresses seven different titles of the Farm Bill, including proposals that address crop insurance, credit, nutrition, rural development, research and extension, horticulture, and livestock. The bill addresses food production, aggregation, processing, marketing, and distribution and aims to reduce barriers that limit growth in local and regional farm and food markets.
Sen. Brown and Rep. Pingree highlighted the bill at a press conference on Capitol Hill today. Joining the Representatives at the press conference were Maine organic farmer Sarah Smith and celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio.
Smith commented: “Passage of the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act will mean more jobs and income for farming communities nationwide and greater availability of high quality locally and regionally produced food for consumers.”
Sarah Smith, co-owner of Grassland Organic Farm speaks on Capitol Hill
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been closely involved in the development of the bill, both in 2011 and again this year. Our press release can be read here, and we also have pages on our website with:
- a bill summary;
- a section by section analysis;
- a list of congressional co-sponsors (that we will keep updated as more Senators and Members of Congress sign-on); and
- a list of supporting organizations (from last year, that we will also be updating as additional groups sign-on).
For an investment of just over $100 million a year in farm bill dollars, the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act can help a growing sector of the food system flourish. This investment is small in overall farm bill terms – roughly one-tenth of one percent of total farm bill spending – but big in its power to deliver real, lasting, and market-based benefits to farmers, consumers, and communities.
We will be working for the inclusion of the entire Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act in the upcoming 2013 Farm Bill and will report on the progress of that campaign at key steps in the legislative process.