Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer submitted an amendment to the Continuing Resolution to realign agriculture funding and released the following statement:
“The Agriculture title in the Republican Continuing Resolution offers a set of backwards spending priorities that hurt middle and lower income Americans,” said Blumenauer. “Only 10 percent of Farm Bill spending goes towards safety, conservation and renewable energy, yet this is the only part of the Farm Bill being targeted by the Republicans. These programs support food safety, economic development and family and minority farmers. The idea that the hardworking Americans who depend on these programs ought to suffer while big corporations and agribusiness enjoy billions in government largesse is shameful.
“My amendment, which will cap wasteful taxpayer giveaways to agribusiness, is an important step towards real agricultural reform in this country,” Blumenauer continued. “There is no reason to continue excessive subsidies to corporate farming operations for growing commodities instead of real, healthy food.”
As part of reforming America's agricultural policy and rewarding farmers who grow food instead of commodities, Blumenauer, working closely with Representatives Jeff Flake and Ron Kind, supports amendment language that limit subsidy payments to entities who make more than $250,000 a year, strike conservation payments to farmers who lease their land to oil and gas companies, and restrict funding for the Brazil cotton program in which US taxpayers are paying Brazilian cotton farmers as a result of the distorted subsidies paid to US cotton farmers.
Instead of cutting wasteful subsidies to agricultural conglomerates that don’t need them, the new majority would rather:
- Threaten food safety by cutting $241 million from the Food and Drug Administration, cutting $88 million from the Food Safety and Inspection Service and eliminating the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative
- Reduce food assistance to families struggling to make ends meet by eliminating the Hunger Free Communities program
- Cripple economic growth and job creation in rural agricultural areas by slashing rural development funding by $482 million
- Slash conservation programs and technical assistance to farmers by cutting $173 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and eliminating Farm Service Agency Conservation Loans and the Resource Conservation and Development Program
- Target minority farmers by eliminating the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach
- Stymie agricultural innovation by eliminating the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service and the Organic Transitions Research Program