On July 8th, 2007, farmers, ranchers, and community leaders from throughout Northern New Mexico gathered for a Farm Bill Forum to discuss Congressional reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The undersigned organizations and individuals articulated a policy framework that addresses the unique social, ecological, and cultural context in New Mexico while also endorsing a national policy effort entitled the Food and Farm Policy Diversity Initiative. Below is a summary of the priority policy objectives that surfaced at the Forum and specific recommendations for existing and new sections of the Farm Bill. For a complete summary of the Farm Bill Forum, click on Farm Bill Recommendations
To hear proceedings from the Farm Bill Forum on July 8, 2007, click here.
Top Priority Policy Recommendations for 2007 Farm Bill
- Establish Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program to support minority farmers and ranchers through combination of technical assistance and financial incentives. Status: Not included in House Agriculture Committee Base Bill. Language for program was introduced in the NOURISH Act by Representative Joe Baca as Title 1 of HR 2401. Recommendation: Seeking amendment on House Floor or in Senate Agriculture Committee for authorization of $100 million in annual mandatory funding.
- Recognition of historic rights for traditional uses on forest land and establishment of indigenous and local user advisory groups. Status: Not included in House Agriculture Committee Base Bill. Recommendation: Seeking amendment on House Floor or in Senate Agriculture Committee.
- Ensure that language is not inserted into the Farm Bill that preempts state and local food safety laws, such as bans on genetically engineered seeds. Status: Section 123 in Title 1 of the markup from the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee was removed. Recommendation: Prevent addition of this or similar language in the Farm Bill.
- Create a special initiative under EQIP to preserve and rehabilitate historic community irrigation structures. Status: Not included in House Agriculture Committee Base Bill. Recommendation: Request amendment on House Floor or in Senate Agriculture Committee to authorize $15 million in annual mandatory funding.
- Make protection of minority-owned land a stated goal of the Farm and Ranch Protection program and include set aside of 10% for minority farmers. Status: Not included in House Agriculture Committee Base Bill. Recommendation: Seeking amendment on House Floor or in Senate Agriculture Committee.
- Reauthorization of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program at $25 million mandatory funding annually with set asides for SDFRs. Status: House Agriculture Committee Base Bill includes $15 million annual mandatory funding.
- Reauthorize funding for 2501 Outreach programs through mandatory annual funding of $50 million. Status: Mandatory annual funding of $15 million included in House Agriculture Committee Base Bill.