Policy Priorities –
District Work Period, August 2023
During the month of August, Congress typically recesses, and elected officials return home to their districts and states to meet with constituents, sometimes referred to as the “district work period.” This is an important time to advocate for Farmers Union’s policy priorities and make your voice heard about the importance of family farm agriculture. Join with other Farmers Union members in your state to attend town hall meetings or to schedule meetings with your elected officials.
1. Pass a Strong Farm Bill
Ensure Fairness for Farmers by addressing the monopoly crisis in agriculture
Strengthen farm programs, disaster assistance, and risk management
Address USDA staffing shortfalls
Enact the Dairy Revitalization Plan
Help farmers tackle climate change
2. Support an American-Grown, Renewable Energy Future
3. Preserve Local Control and Landowner Rights
Family farmers, ranchers, consumers, and our communities all benefit from a strong and resilient farm and food system. The farm bill helps to ensure our agricultural economies and communities thrive. The current farm bill expires at the end of September 2023, and our farm policy is due for important reforms.
The next farm bill should establish a competition title that includes NFU’s Fairness for Farmers priorities to address the monopoly crisis in agriculture; strengthen and improve farm programs, disaster assistance, and risk management tools, while ensuring robust administration of these programs by addressing persistent USDA staffing shortages; address the staggering loss of family dairy farms; give farmers the tools and resources they need to tackle climate change and steward their land; and ensure beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers are supported by all USDA programs.
The farm bill must also be written with adequate resources available and include a strong nutrition title that provides for the food security of our families and communities.
Ensure Fairness for Farmers
The farm bill should create a COMPETITION TITLE that includes NFU’s FAIRNESS FOR FARMERS priorities to address the monopoly crisis in agriculture, and to ensure family farmers, ranchers, and our communities have access to fair, open, and competitive markets.
A strong competition title should include the following provisions:
- The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2023 (S.228 and H.R.1287), which would buttress the cash market for cattle and improve reporting and data availability requirements.
- The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2023 (S.346) to establish an “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” at USDA to provide dedicated enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
- The American Beef Labeling Act of 2023 (S.52) to reinstate mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef and pork.
- Support for expansion of diverse, local, and regional market opportunities in farm and food supply chains, including The Strengthening Local Processing Act of 2023 (S.354 and H.R. 945) and The Local Farms and Food Act of 2023 (S.1205 and H.R.2723).
The farm bill should preserve the ongoing PACKERS & STOCKYARDS ACT RULEMAKINGS to protect livestock and poultry producers from unfair, deceptive, and monopolistic practices in the marketplace.
Strengthen Farm Programs, Disaster Assistance, and Risk Management
- Establish a dual enrollment option for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC).
- Authorize a voluntary update of base acres and yields.
- Increase loan rates and other price-based triggers that reflects higher commodity prices and input costs.
- Enhance permanent disaster assistance programs to address implementation delays and inequitable or incomplete support.
- Expand permanent disaster assistance program options.
- Make risk management products more accessible for specialty crop producers and diverse cropping systems.
- Give farmers the option to voluntarily remove marginal or sensitive land from production annually in exchange for crop insurance enhancements.
Additional Farm Bill Priorities
- Address USDA STAFFING SHORTFALLS hampering farm program administration.
- Stem the loss of family dairy farms by enacting the DAIRY REVITALIZATION PLAN.
- Help farmers tackle CLIMATE CHANGE and steward their land:
- Through financial and technical assistance to support healthy soils and expand on-farm renewable energy
- With incentives to implement practices that increase resilience and decrease risk
- Through investments in agriculture research, outreach, and education
The growth of renewable transportation fuels has been a success story for all Americans. For the U.S. to realize the full potential of its renewable energy sector, we should continue to promote clean, higher-level blends of ethanol and advanced biobased fuels. The path to increased ethanol use is through high octane, low carbon fuel. NFU supports:
- Removing arbitrary legislative and regulatory barriers to HIGHER BLENDS OF ETHANOL like E30, to transition the energy sector to high octane fuels that clean our air and benefit our communities.
- Supporting and protecting demand for ADVANCED BIOFUELS through the Renewable Fuel Standard and through research, development, and infrastructure investments.
NFU supports the RIGHTS OF LANDOWNERS and their communities to make decisions for themselves. LOCAL CONTROL is a core concept that keeps family farms and rural communities vibrant. NFU strongly supports the rights of landowners and opposes the use of eminent domain as a means of transferring control of land from one private interest to another.