WASHINGTON — A letter signed by more than 150 organizations and addressed to President Joe Biden calls for the next farm bill to address economic inequality, racial divides, hunger, climate change, nutrition and food safety while supporting farmers, workers and communities. Groups signing the letter dated Sept. 13 included the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the AFL-CIO, the Center for Food Safety, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Plant Based Food Institute, the Sierra Club, The Land Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“President Biden has shown a deep understanding of the urgency of confronting the challenges facing our country, including the climate crisis, racial injustice and economic insecurity, and how transforming our food and farm system into one that is more resilient, equitable and sustainable is key to meeting those challenges,” said Ricardo Salvador, PhD, senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ food and environment program. “The farm bill offers a path to build on the historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act, boost key administrative actions already taken by the US Department of Agriculture and advance the president’s values. “
To address racial justice, the farm bill could confront past discrimination, address systemic racism in the US Department of Agriculture and invest in underserved communities, according to the letter. To work toward ending hunger, the farm bill should protect and strengthen food assistance programs. The farm bill, to meet the climate crisis, could invest in technical assistance and financial incentives that enable farmers and ranchers to reduce emissions.
Implementing farmer and labor policies could help farmers and workers withstand extreme weather and protect workers from pesticides. The farm bill also should address pathogens that originate on farms and endanger the US food supply, according to the letter.Congress reauthorizes the farm bill every five years. The next farm bill is scheduled for 2023 since the latest farm bill, also called the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, was passed in December 2018.