WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee passed its Fiscal Year 2024 agriculture funding bill. The legislation includes harmful provisions that would prevent USDA from completing long-awaited Packers and Stockyards Act rules to protect family farmers and ranchers from abuses of market power by the meat industry. The bill also makes unacceptable cuts to funding that would help distressed borrowers, address climate change, and ensure the food and nutrition security of our communities.
“Family farmers and ranchers should be allowed to do what we do best: sustainably produce food, feed, fiber, and fuel. But we can’t do this without fair and competitive markets,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Our markets are heavily consolidated, with few buyers and sellers, and are ripe for manipulation. That’s why we are dismayed by the proposal in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill to halt ongoing rulemakings that would strengthen and modernize enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act.”
The bill includes several other harmful provisions, including:
- Cutting funds that would support distressed borrowers of Farm Service Agency loans.
- Rolling back funding for programs that help address climate change and promote the growth of renewable energy on farms and ranches.
- Tightening requirements for low-income individuals to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is an essential antipoverty and food assistance program.
“Several proposals in this bill damage the farm economy, prevent us from tackling climate change, and harm our communities,” Larew added. “We urge Congress to reject these changes and to make fairness for farmers a priority.”
With today’s passage by the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, the Fiscal Year 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill now awaits consideration by the full committee. NFU will work to ensure these harmful provisions are not part of the final House bill and that similarly harmful provisions are not included in the Senate agriculture appropriations bill.