May 17, 2024

PennFuture & CVPA's Statement on the Farm Bill Proposals

PennFuture and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania support the U.S. Senate’s Farm Bill Framework as it puts climate resilience in American agriculture front and center.

On May 1, 2024, the chairs of the House Committee on Agriculture and Senate Committee on Agriculture released contrasting 2024 Farm Bill proposals that have vastly different priorities for the future of America’s farmers and food security for working families. 

The Senate Committee on Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act, a 94-page framework that preserves the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate-smart agriculture funding. This plan gives direct support to Pennsylvania farmers who wish to continue their conservation efforts and would continue climate resiliency investments advanced by President Joe Biden.

The legislation would lock in financing for sought-after programs in the Commonwealth, such as fencing for rotational grazing, cover crops, stream protections, and manure management systems. These programs also help lower costs and increase yields for farmers by helping them shift to practices like no-till production and the planting of cover crops to rejuvenate the soil and prevent erosion.

By contrast, House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Glenn Thompson’s (R-PA) proposal sidelines conservation efforts and cuts nutrition programs for families. Instead of preserving Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding explicitly for climate-smart purposes, it would undermine the climate impact of these programs.

The conservation programs the House bill aims to cut are popular with Pennsylvania farmers and are always oversubscribed. In the last year alone, 45% of Pennsylvania’s IRA applications were rejected due to insufficient federal funding. 

PennFuture and CVPA commend the Senate’s Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act for its sustainable financing for sought-after programs in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s farmers should be empowered to help fight climate change and conserve the land, their livelihoods, and our food supply. The Senate Farm Bill framework provides sustainable protections for our farms and environment, and we urge Congress to move in that direction.