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"AFT's extensive outreach to farmers and farm policy experts provided the data and policy frameworks that Congress needed to craft legislation that meets broad public goals for nutrition, food security and agricultural viability."

-Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)

Success in the 2008 Farm Bill
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Policy Outcomes:
Conservation & Farmland Protection Subsidy Reform Local and Healthy Foods Renewable Energy

A Rightful Place at the Table for Local and Healthy Foods

For the first time, the farm bill includes $1.3 billion in new funding over 10 years for specialty crops—fruits, vegetables and nuts—and increases programs that support local agriculture and healthy foods.

The food that we eat directly affects our health, and U.S. agricultural policy directly impacts our food choices. At the start of our farm bill campaign, AFT and our partners recognized the need to link nutritional guidelines established by the health community—which call for greater consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains—to changes in agricultural policy.

New policies and provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill reflect the increasing public demand for programs that support local food. Achievements include:

  • Farmers Market Promotion Program—renamed the Farmer Marketing Assistance Program—to help establish and promote farmers’ markets and implement market development projects: $33 million over five years.
  • Community Food Projects Program helps organizations address local hunger, nutrition and food access issues by connecting low-income people with fresh foods direct from the local community: mandatory $5 million over 10 years.
  • Boy picking strawberriesFresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program allows schools to purchase fresh fruit and vegetable snacks: $500 million over five years.
  • Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides vouchers for low-income seniors to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from participating local farmers: increased to
    $20.6 million annually.
  • Value-added Agricultural Market Development Program Grants to assist farmers and ranchers in increasing overall sales through differentiation and distribution initiatives:
    $15 million over five years.
  • Geographic preference language will allow schools greater flexibility for purchasing products from local farmers.
  • The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center is a new initiative to provide support and technical assistance for the development of programs that distribute local and healthy food to underserved communities: $3 million over three years.
  • Prioritized financing for locally produced agriculture through the Rural Business and Industries Loan and Loan Guarantee program.
  • Interstate shipment of state-inspected meat to allow select state meat or poultry facilities to receive federal certification, granting producers permission to ship across state lines and broaden their market reach.
American Farmland Trust