The budget plan recently unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, would correct some of the critical inequities in the farm bill extension measure negotiated behind closed doors as part of the New Year “fiscal cliff” deal.
The proposed “American Family Economic Protection Act” is a package of spending cuts and revenue increases. It provides an alternative to the Draconian measures pending as a result of the possible deficit reduction measures that would result from sequestration.
Working closely with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, Senator Reid crafted a package that would end direct payments and restore critical farm bill programs benefiting thousands of small farmers that were left out of the farm bill extension portion of the “fiscal cliff” deal. Many of those programs are critical to the work of Wholesome Wave and its 60 partners working with over 2,500 farmers in 28 states.
Among these programs are the Farmers Market Promotion Program and Value Added Producer Grants as well as those supporting rural small businesses, new and beginning farmers, specialty crops, organic farming, minority farmers, and local food producers.
“We recognize that this proposed legislative update would be a temporary adjustment to the ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation,” says Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave, CEO, “However, this modest yet meaningful step would provide critical support for many small and midsize farmers who were left in difficult financial positions as a result of the hastily passed farm bill extension. This adjustment would provide sound guidance on small farm issues as the Senate and House dig into their essential work on a longer-term Farm Bill.”