Introduction of the Food and Farm Act

Floor Speech

Date: March 28, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today I introduced the Food and Farm Act. This legislation is a holistic vision for a better Farm Bill that focuses resources on those who need them most, fosters innovation, encourages investment in people and the planet, and ensures access to healthy foods.

The Food and Farm Act reforms the federal farm safety net so that it stops giving too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong things in the wrong places. Federally backed crop and commodity insurance wastes taxpayer dollars by giving big agribusiness massive subsidies while small farmers and ranchers are left to struggle.

These subsidies are highly targeted to six commodity crops that receive 94 percent of all subsidies, disadvantaging diversified farms and nurseries that grow the food we actually eat. In my home state of Oregon, known for its agricultural bounty, nearly 9 in 10 farmers receive no subsidies from the federal government.

Agriculture accounts for more than 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, yet the Farm Bill has historically been a failed opportunity to promote climate resilience. Federal dollars should come with conservation requirements that lead to better water quality, reduced soil erosion, more vegetation buffers, cover cropping practices, and supporting pollinator habitats.

Making these upstream to changes to what we grow would result in countless downstream nutrition and health benefits. Food assistance programs should expand access to healthy foods, whether it's in a grocery school, farmers market or school lunch.

The last few years underscored the need for strong local food systems that are insulated from international markets and supply chain shocks. We should be growing the food we need to nourish our population here at home, and supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers who want to do just that.

I look forward to crafting a better food and farm policy this year that supports small and mid-size farmers and ranchers, protects our environment, and promotes access to healthy food.