Time is running out for Congress to pass a new farm bill- the current farm bill expires on September 30! A conference committee, which includes leadership from both Agriculture Committees as well as other House and Senate members, has been formed to work out the differences between the two bills.
We urge you to reach out to Maine’s congressional delegation and let them know which farm bill programs are important to you and to farmers in Maine.
1. Maintain both the Senate and House farm bills’ increases in funding for Agriculture Conservation Easement Program-Agriculture Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) to support the placement of agricultural easements in Maine that protect farmland and make land more affordable for the next generation of farmers.
2. Maintain the Senate farm bill’s increase in funding for the development of local and regional food economies through the establishment of the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP).
3. Maintain the Senate farm bill’s increase in funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which provides competitive grants to academic institutions, state extension services, producer groups, and community organizations to support and train new farmers and ranchers.
4. Reduce funding cuts to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) so that farmers have the necessary support to address natural resources concerns on their property while keeping their land in production.
5. Maintain the Senate and House farm bills’ increase in funding for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program to increase access to local fresh fruits and vegetables for SNAP recipients, and expand markets for farmers.
6. Maintain the Senate farm bill’s Buy-Protect-Sell provision so that land trusts can act quickly using ACEP-ALE dollars to protect vulnerable farmland and then sell the land to a farmer.
7. Maintain the Senate farm bill’s increase in funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), which supports research projects that address the most critical challenges facing organic farmers.
8. Maintain the Senate farm bill’s increases in funding levels for Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct and guaranteed loans.
Read our priorities in greater detail HERE.