Farm Policy

We work with family farmers and supporters like you who care about the structure of agriculture to reform farm policy. Our goal is to create farm policy that keeps families on the land, protects our soil and water for future generations and creates opportunity for a new generation of farmers.

Family farm agriculture plays a critical role in strengthening rural communities and shaping the character of rural life. Quite simply, who farms matters.

Research has found that communities surrounded by farms that are larger than can be operated by a family unit have a few wealthy elites, a majority of poor laborers, and virtually no middle class. The absence of a middle class has a serious negative effect on social and commercial service, public education, and local government.

We don’t have the option of returning to the family farm communities of a generation ago. But we can build strong 21st century rural communities based on their key strength. Family farming afforded people who work – the common person – the opportunity to shoulder the responsibilities of ownership and enjoy its benefits. That strengthened their stake in their community and nurtured their sense of responsibility.

Today, there are new opportunities in farming, ranching and related businesses. Small dairies are remaking themselves with specialty cheeses and organic milk. In the Midwest, hundreds of small farms are flourishing by supplying the gourmet food supplier Niman Ranch with low-stress hogs raised on straw or pasture. On the Great Plains, family growers are cultivating specialty grains for expanding niche markets. 

We’re still fighting for family farms that raise commodities, as you can see in our advocacy for tighter limits on mega farm subsidies. But we are also working to create the new 21st century opportunities for rural Americans to own the fruits of their labor.

Farm Policy Notes

 

Seguro de Cosechas 101

¿Que es el seguro de cosechas federal? Seguros protegen contra la pérdida natural de cultivos, como sequía o enfermedad del cultivo. Algunos productos cubren pérdida de ingresos, debido a bajos rendimientos o cambios en el precio de mercado. https://www.cfra.org/node/8144/

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Conservation for Rural Communities: Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Implementation Recommendations

The Center for Rural Affairs has been fighting for strong and healthy rural communities for several decades. Early in our history, we recognized that well-managed, diversified farming operations are key to rural community vitality. For example, diverse on-farm income streams offer economic resiliency. Crops and livestock managed together can cycle nutrients within the farm and build soil health and improve water quality. Healthy and profitable farms and ranches in turn help support rural businesses and communities.

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Grant funding available for producers looking to diversify their operations 

Agricultural producers interested in diversifying and taking on a new element to their operation are encouraged to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA Rural Development has $37 million in grant funding available for this program in 2020. Individuals and groups of producers can apply for grants up to $75,000 for planning, and $250,000 for implementation and working capital.

Weigh in on changes to Environmental Quality Incentives Program

As it works to implement changes to the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to accept public comments on its rule addressing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is one of the nation’s largest conservation programs. As of 2018, 13.7 million acres were covered under active and completed EQIP contracts. EQIP helps producers implement conservation practices on their operations that preserve soil, water, and other natural resources.

South Dakota Legislative Update-Jan. 28

Today is Day 10 of South Dakota’s Legislative Session. Our state’s session is short and moves quickly. This year there are 37 Legislative Days (LD) and all bills need to be introduced by Feb. 7 (LD 16) and pass both houses by March 9 (LD 33). The last day for gubernatorial vetoes is March 30 (LD. 37). 

Right now new bills are being introduced daily and we anticipate our bill watch list growing. Below are a few bills we are currently monitoring.