Blumenauer Joined by Environmental, Taxpayer, Free Enterprise Advocates in Releasing "Growing Opportunities" Reform Proposals for Farm Bill

Report Offers Vision for a Farm Bill That Better Serves Small and Midsize Farmers and Ranchers, the Environment, Taxpayers and Consumers

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer was joined by leaders from the environmental, taxpayer and free enterprise communities in unveiling a vision for common-sense reforms to the Farm Bill. The report, titled “Growing Opportunities: Family Farm Values for Reforming the Farm Bill,” [PDF] offers a roadmap to wiser use of taxpayer dollars to support small and medium farmers and ranchers while cutting wasteful spending in the form of handouts to big agribusinesses.

“It’s time for a Farm Bill that works for America’s family farmers and ranchers,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “For years, Americans have seen their tax dollars ill-spent on wasteful handouts to huge agribusinesses that don’t need them, while family farms, conservation initiatives and nutrition programs languish. We have a tremendous opportunity to reform this Farm Bill in a way that spends tax dollars wisely while creating jobs and making our communities healthier.”

“Rep. Blumenauer is a leading champion for a healthy, sustainable food system that most Americans want and more and more consumers are demanding,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group. “His report, which highlights the wasteful taxpayer spending on well-off agribusiness, is a critical component of the farm bill debate that we are in danger of losing to the secrecy of the Super Committee. I’m thrilled the congressman shares EWG’s vision for a proposal that supports healthy food reforms and protects our water, soil and wildlife habitat.” 

“Congressman Blumenauer’s plan goes a long way towards reforming the crop insurance and direct payments programs that will save taxpayers money and help the farmers who truly need it,” said Henry Olsen, Vice President and Director of the National Research Initiative at the American Enterprise Institute. “Fixing those two programs is a part of a larger conversation this country needs to have about how we substantively reform agriculture policy to make it smarter and less costly.”

“Farm bills have been harvesting cash from taxpayers for years,” said Steve Ellis, Vice President at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Rep. Blumenauer has hit the nail on the head with this report. Americans do deserve a better farm bill. And with the nation staring into a nearly $15 trillion chasm of debt, we cannot afford wasteful subsidies that are more about lining big agribusiness pockets than putting food on the table.”

“The next Farm Bill should be an investment strategy, not just a spending plan,” said Tim Male, vice president for Conservation Policy at Defenders of Wildlife. “By targeting our conservation dollars towards the programs and farmers that are producing results for wildlife, we get the biggest bang for our buck not only for the environment but for the taxpayer as well.”

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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