Farm Bill Campaign: Demanding Climate, Land, and Food Justice for All

Eight northeast organic farming organizations have come together to identify our region’s greatest farming and food system needs and policies to address them.

We are calling on Congress to:

Expand Opportunities in Organic

The  Opportunities in Organic Act, ( H.R.3650, S.1582) offers a suite of flexible, easy-to-access tools to reduce barriers to organic agriculture, including for Black farmers, Indigenous farmers, farmers of color and producers historically excluded from organic certification. It will modernize reimbursements for organic certification, increase technical expertise and support within public institutions and NGOs and expand support for producers transitioning to organic.

Demand Climate Action

The Agriculture Resilience Act (H.R.1840, S.1016) will harness the power of agriculture to confront our climate and biological crises. With urgent action now, including the investments and policy reforms in the ARA, we can meet our climate goals and dramatically improve our food system while engaging farmers in making the critical changes necessary for our future.

The ARA includes a provision to provide states and Tribal governments with funding to support state soil health programs. NY is uniquely poised to utilize federal funding to expand on-farm soil health and climate resilience projects through the soil health programming authorized through the Soil and Health and Climate Resiliency Act and the soil health strategies outlined in the NY Climate Scoping Plan.

Support Organic Dairy

Immediate support to address dramatically increased organic input costs for organic dairy farms is urgently needed to reverse the alarming decline in family organic dairy farms in the northeast. The O DAIRY (S.3097) and the Organic Dairy Data Collection Act (H.R. 6937) will increase organic milk market transparency by requiring AMS to publish organic-specific data. The O DAIRY bill also includes key investments in local infrastructure and creates a safety net that supports the specific needs of organic dairy farms. Systemic reforms such as those detailed in the Milk from Family Dairies Act are also needed to ensure farm viability and market opportunities for all family dairies.

Secure Equitable Access to Land and Credit

USDA has a demonstrated history of discriminating against Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color in lending and credit practices and program implementation. Our nation must act now to facilitate secure, affordable access to land and credit for young farmers and farmers of color—there is no time to wait. The reforms in the Justice for Black Farmers Act (H.R.1167, S.96) and the Fair Credit for Farmers Act (S. 2668) are a first step in addressing and correcting discrimination against Black farmers in farm assistance and lending programs and ensuring representation on county FSA committees.

Protect Farms from PFAS

Farmland that is contaminated with PFAS (aka “forever chemicals”) is a threat to public health and farm viability and must be addressed to ensure a safe and prosperous future. As PFAS-contaminated soil, milk, and even produce and crops are detected, farm families and farmworkers are most vulnerable and need immediate support to protect themselves, their business, and their communities against continued exposure. The Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act (H.R.1517, S.747) would authorize funding for states to assist affected farmers, expand monitoring and testing, and fund PFAS research.  

Reject False Solutions

We join with our allies across the many sectors of the food system in opposing legislation that will increase consolidation and corporate power through mechanisms that prioritize short-term profit over long-term sustainability, such as carbon markets and biogas markets. These false solutions focus too narrowly on carbon or methane at the detriment of biodiversity, ecosystem health, and function, and allow bad actors to continue to pollute while further entrenching farmers in systems of chemically-intensive agriculture. (To learn more about what we mean by “false solutions”, check out this explainer from our allies at IATP.)


Take Action

Calls to Action from Our Allies

📣Show your support for organic agriculture in the Farm Bill! Organic hasn’t received a fair share of Farm Bill investments – tell your leaders to ensure the future of organic agriculture, to reduce barriers and to help farmers transition to organic by supporting the Opportunities in Organic Act.

📣The Agriculture Resilience Act offers a roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions in agriculture by 2040 by investing in and empowering farmers. Take action today by asking your Members of Congress to cosponsor the bill!

📣Support Crucial Farm Bill Improvements for Organic Dairy! The Organic Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Reporting Yields Act (O DAIRY ACT) will provide improved data collection, support to help cover dramatically increased input costs, and key investments in infrastructure.

📣Tell Congress to support land access for young and BIPOC farmers!

📣Support Fair Access to Credit for Farmers. The Fair Credit for Farmers Act seeks a fundamental shift in the dynamic between farmers and FSA, to a relationship where farmers have protections and can be co-equal partners with FSA staff in seeking farm success.

📣 Message your Members of Congress supporting farmer-to-farmer learning.

NY State Farm Bill Policy Platform

NOFA-NY is also proud to support the NY State Farm Bill Policy Platform developed by Black Farmers United NYS, Equity Advocates, and Food for the Spirit with input from over 300 New Yorkers including BIPOC farmers, growers, producers, practitioners, and advocates. The platform centers around 4 key recommendations for racial justice in the Farm Bill:

  1. Support Land Stewardship & Farmer Training
  2. Invest in Community Food Infrastructure
  3. Improve Accessibility of USDA Programs
  4. Increase Access to Food Assistance

Principles

These principles and priorities came together with input gathered during spring and summer 2022 farm bill listening sessions hosted by NOFA chapters and through careful evaluation of campaigns being developed by organizations that share our values and priorities.

We want a farm bill that…

Organic practices improve soil health, promote biodiversity above and below ground, and require biological, mechanical, and cultural means of pest and disease control like cover crops and crop rotation. By actively working with natural systems and avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides, organic and agroecological systems eliminate some of the most potent GHG emissions while sequestering carbon and protecting wildlife and their habitats. The Farm Bill must protect the integrity of the National Organic Program and invest a substantial proportion of its funding to support expansion of organic and agroecological systems to 30% of farmland by 2030.

Farming is essential work that, at its best, provides food for our communities while nourishing and protecting ecosystems and contributing to the creation of community wealth. At present, however, much of federal policy works to extract wealth, labor, and knowledge from those working the land, to the detriment of farmers, workers, eaters, and the environment. We need a Farm Bill that reestablishes parity prices that are in balance with the rest of the economy through equitable and  just supply management. It is time to end  “cheap food” funded by exploiting farmworkers and the land. The Farm Bill must ensure living wages, and dignified livelihoods for every worker throughout the food supply chain and end the exclusion of farmworkers from labor protections.

To enable rural prosperity and increase local food system resilience, the farm bill should expand organic and regional food processing, distribution, and marketing infrastructure; invest in community leadership and cooperative ownership models; expand risk management opportunities and market access for small and medium-scale and diversified farms and ranches; and prioritize support for Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and new and beginning farmers and ranchers in all programming. For communities to thrive and build more just and vital regional food systems, more investment and support is also needed for affordable and accessible broadband, healthcare, housing, and renewable energy.   

The farm bill must also reverse the devastation to local economies caused by the hyper-consolidation of food and agribusiness industries by enforcing existing antitrust laws, limiting mergers, guaranteeing fair contracts, and increasing corporate accountability to frontline communities. 

USDA has a demonstrated history of discriminating against farmers of color in lending and credit practices and program implementation. Taken in the context of a broader history of land theft, forced labor and other forms of disenfranchisement, USDA must actively work to support access to land, credit, and other resources for self-determination for farmers of color and other marginalized communities. In doing so, they must meaningfully engage with and be held accountable to  BIPOC farmers and other stakeholders to develop programs and policies that support their needs on the ground. Congress should ensure equitable access to agricultural land stewardship through conservation programs.

It is time to shift the US food system to localized food sovereignty with access to farmland and farming resources for BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, the young, under-resourced and farmers from other marginalized populations. The concept of food sovereignty recognizes access to healthy, nutrient-dense food as a human right and maintains that people should have the ability to be active participants and stakeholders in the food they grow, consume and sell. Just as biodiversity is essential to soil health, social diversity is essential to a healthy and thriving food system. As a matter of justice and public health, people from marginalized populations must be afforded equitable access to nutrient-dense food free of toxic pesticides, such as food grown by organic farms.  Further, in order to confront the worsening effects of the climate crisis, we must empower locally-controlled and adaptive efforts for food solutions.  Shifting the US food system to localized food sovereignty with access to farmland and farming resources for Indigenous, Black, and farmers of color will reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from agriculture. To this end, Congress has the opportunity to use the Farm Bill to elevate the interests of all food eaters and the small-scale local producers that resilient communities depend upon, by making deeper investments in urban agriculture and cooperative land ownership. Also as a matter of climate resiliency, congress must reinvest in public plant and animal breeding programs to provide farmers with regionally adapted seeds and breeds.

The use of toxic xenobiotic materials interrupts the natural systems of ecosystems with living soils that nourish plants that nourish animals, including humans.  It is time to end public policies that subsidize pollution and to require the manufacturers of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms to pay to clean up the contamination from which they profit. The US must adopt the precautionary principle in introducing new materials and products and carefully weigh the climate impact of fossil fuels and all derivatives, especially synthetic fertilizers. These policies are necessary to protect biodiversity, the health of farmworkers and farmers, wildlife, and all who eat farm products. A just transition must be provided for farmers who have been pressured onto the chemical-GMO-CAFO treadmill with incentives to transition their farms to ecological systems with localized markets.


Partners and Allies

Our campaign has been influenced and informed by the work of many others including: 



Share feedback on NOFA’s principles and priorities: email Katie at policy@nofany.org 


Photo by C VanHeest on Unsplash