Welcome Back from Recess – Nationwide Sustainable Agriculture CoalitionNational Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Welcome Back from Recess

September 16, 2022

Photo credit score: Andy Feliciotti

This week, the House of Representatives and Senate are each in session for the primary time because the finish of the August Congressional recess. Although the Senate shall be in session for 2 weeks in October, the ultimate weeks of September would be the final main burst of Congressional exercise in Washington, D.C. earlier than all consideration shifts to the upcoming midterm elections. The subsequent a number of weeks are filled with exercise in Congress and the Administration and can go a great distance towards framing the beginning of the 118th Congress and its reauthorization of the farm invoice. 

Funding the federal government

Current authorities funding – courtesy of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (PL 117-103) – will expire on October 1, 2022, giving Congress simply over two weeks to barter, finalize, and approve a Continuing Resolution (CR) in an effort to stop a authorities shutdown. Congress is at the moment contemplating a CR by way of mid-December 2022.

Congressional observers know all too effectively that, in concept, CR’s usually are not a part of federal appropriations common order. However, in recent times Congress has discovered it more and more difficult to approve all twelve appropriations payments on schedule. Consequently, CR’s have turn into the brand new regular. This 12 months, the House of Representatives managed to approve six of the twelve fiscal 12 months (FY) 2023 appropriations payments by way of the House Appropriations Committee and the House flooring. Meanwhile, the Senate has solely been in a position to launch the legislative textual content of its FY2023 appropriations payments. 

The House’s FY2023 Agriculture Appropriations invoice – which NSAC analyzed earlier this 12 months – would significantly improve funding for Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) by greater than $125 million and ramp up funding by $5 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) program. Many different key packages obtained “flat” funding. The Senate’s FY2023 Agriculture Appropriations invoice equally will increase funding for CTA and SARE, though falls wanting rising investments in some packages, just like the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. Our up to date appropriations chart reveals that though neither invoice is ideal, they each nonetheless embrace vital funding will increase to key packages that won’t be part of a CR. By their very nature, CRs create an absence of stability in funding for federal packages that may have actual world impacts along with delaying will increase in funding which are important to creating a extra simply, sustainable, and resilient meals and farm system. 

Yet, the key remaining hurdle to passage of a CR earlier than October 1 is the continuing negotiation on allowing reform, the federal approval course of for power tasks, together with oil and fuel pipelines. Although it at the moment appears unlikely that Congress will flirt with a authorities shutdown so near the midterm elections, negotiations within the weeks forward on allowing reform would be the deciding vote.

White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

While Congress makes a remaining push to fund the federal government past September 30, the White House will host its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on September 28. The Conference – which goals to finish starvation and improve wholesome consuming and bodily exercise by 2030, in order that fewer Americans expertise diet-related ailments like diabetes, weight problems, and hypertension – has been months within the making. 

The first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health was held in 1969 in the course of the Nixon Administration. That convention finally resulted in additional than 1,800 suggestions that spurred progress in federal meals and vitamin coverage, together with key expansions of the Food Stamp Program and School Lunch Program, authorization of the Supplemental Feeding Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), and enhancements to vitamin labeling and ingredient labeling.

The 2022 Conference is a vital alternative to energise efforts to finish starvation and promote vitamin and well being heading right into a farm invoice reauthorization. NSAC believes that the trail to long run success in decreasing starvation, malnutrition, and diet-related illness requires a complete method to the meals and agricultural system. To that finish, in coordination with the Meridian Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, Bread for the World, and Farm, Food Environmental Policy Consulting, NSAC not too long ago referred to as on the Biden Administration to make sure that the Conference displays the necessity for a complete method. The full letter is right here, with an excerpt under: 

The White House’s September Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is a vital second to impress efforts to cut back starvation, malnutrition, and diet-related illness in America. But to make lasting progress on these fronts, complete meals and agricultural system transformation is required. The backside line is that we can’t have wholesome folks with out wholesome farming, and we can’t have wholesome farming with out a wholesome planet. We reap what we sow.

We should seize the chance to remodel the U.S. meals and agricultural system to deal with starvation, vitamin, and illness. Doing so won’t solely assist our nation turn into more healthy, however it should additionally unlock options to different interconnected and important challenges of our time like curbing climate change, restoring biodiversity, advancing racial fairness, bettering native and regional meals methods, and strengthening farm, ranch, and rural economies.

Making significant strides towards constructing a more healthy future for folks and the planet

requires an all-hands-on-deck method that capitalizes on the promise and ingenuity of

American agriculture. Building a extra sustainable, resilient meals and agricultural system that fosters wholesome, thriving communities is inside our grasp — as long as we work throughout sectors and decide to aligning behind shared priorities and insurance policies that may get us there.

2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization 

Amid the transferring items highlighted above, Congress and coverage advocates proceed to march in direction of the early levels of the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.

Farm invoice reauthorization won’t take off in earnest till after the upcoming midterm elections, but each the House Agriculture Committee (HAC) and Senate Agriculture Committee (SAC) have been laying the groundwork for reauthorization for months by way of Committee hearings and direct requests for enter. For instance, the House Agriculture Committee (HAC) will host a listening to in mid-September on the Conservation Title of the farm invoice. The HAC can be requesting farm invoice suggestions by way of an internet portal.  Throughout the course of 2022, the Senate Agriculture Committee has additionally held various hearings centered on making ready for the farm invoice, together with area hearings in Michigan and Arkansas, the house states of the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee, respectively.

In conjunction with the pre-farm invoice exercise on Capitol Hill, many organizations are ramping up their very own advocacy as reauthorization approaches. Later this month, NSAC will host farmers from across the nation as they journey to Washington, DC to advocate in assist of key federal packages.  Many of NSAC’s member organizations are additionally internet hosting farm invoice “fly-ins” throughout September. Furthermore, coalitions and advocates are more and more weighing in on objectives for the upcoming farm invoice – for instance, NSAC not too long ago joined over 170 organizations in calling for a farm invoice that facilities racial justice and local weather resilience, amongst different priorities. 

What’s subsequent?

The remaining weeks of September shall be filled with fiscal negotiations, coverage advocacy, and conferences, all of which can assist set the stage for the 118th Congress and the subsequent farm invoice reauthorization. Yet the result of the upcoming midterm elections would be the key issue that defines the scope of the alternatives in the course of the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.

Budget and Appropriations, Carousel, Farm Bill, Nutrition & Food Access