AFT Statement on House Farm Bill Summary and Senate Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act - American Farmland Trust

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AFT Statement on House Farm Bill Summary and Senate Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act 

AFT appreciates the release of House Agriculture Committee Chair Thompson’s Farm Bill overview and Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Stabenow’s summary of the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act, as important steps in the Farm Bill process. AFT believes that it is critical to get a Farm Bill passed in 2024 to provide farmers with the certainty they need to run viable operations and to ensure greater long-term conservation funding.  

The full details of both proposals, including the legislative language, will be essential in making any evaluation. However, AFT applauds Chair Thompson for recognizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build baseline for conservation with Inflation Reduction Act funding. This would ensure that more producers through future farm bills can access the support needed to protect their land and implement practices that improve their viability and resilience. This legislation would also improve the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCPP) program, especially for farm and ranch land protection, and would help additional states and Tribes launch and strengthen soil health programs. In addition, the summary includes other AFT priorities, such as the need for additional research to advance a Smart Solar buildout.  

The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act recognizes the importance of using Inflation Reduction Act funding to increase the conservation baseline, while retaining the focus of this funding on climate change. AFT commends Chair Stabenow for addressing many important conservation and farm viability priorities within this package. Among these are strengthening farm and ranch land protection in ACEP and RCPP, enabling more farmer-to-farmer education on conservation practices, and establishing best practices to protect soils under solar arrays and advancing support for agrivoltaic projects. In addition, the proposal codifies the Regional Food Business Centers, establishes an Office of Small Farms, and addresses PFAS contamination through research and remediation efforts.  

Ultimately, the only path to a successful Farm Bill is through bipartisan legislation in both chambers. AFT thanks Chair Stabenow, Ranking Member Boozman, Chair Thompson, Ranking Member Scott, and their staff for their sustained efforts to pass a Farm Bill. We are eager to continue working with both parties and both chambers to achieve a bipartisan Farm Bill in 2024 that meets the needs of producers and rural communities and increases conservation funding for generations to come.  

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Tim Fink

Policy Director

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