(KMAland) — Even now farm building After the one-year extension, rural advocates are speaking out about protecting independent and family farms when the next extension is finally debated.
of Campaign for family farms and the environment is asking Washington lawmakers to reduce guaranteed loans to large meat and livestock producers, require country-of-origin labeling on beef, and improve enforcement of the century-old Packers and Stockyards Act. .
Mike Farley, Board Member Iowans looking to improve their communitiessaid the new farm bill should aim to help restore competition in livestock markets for independent farmers, while strengthening environmental protections.
“We don’t think the environmental parts of the Farm Bill should be available to factory farmers or even big corporate livestock or grain producers,” Farley explained.
For example, factory farms are currently eligible for federal subsidies to install anaerobic digesters that extract methane from livestock manure and allow corporate farmers to sell the gas for a profit.
Critics of the idea argue that the digester does nothing to remove the large amount of fertilizer that still remains. Large-scale farmers counter that they are always looking for new ways to be more environmentally friendly while meeting the ever-increasing demand for higher quality meat.
Independent farmers lobbied lawmakers in Washington, D.C., last month, saying they would use an extension of the current farm bill to sharpen their focus. Farley added that he will continue to fight on behalf of small and independent farmers.
“Farmers who really want to protect their land, soil, water and clean air need to speak up,” Farley said. “Iowa CCI and the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment are trying to give them that voice.”
Supporters argued that adapting the Farm Bill to meet the needs of small, independent producers could be the difference between some producers staying in business or losing business.