House Could Have Implemented Meaningful Farm Reform (Rep. Ron Kind)

The House of Representatives missed an opportunity yesterday. It missed an opportunity to create a more equitable safety net for family farmers, to promote healthier food choices for Americans, to open up new markets for our agricultural products, and to show American taxpayers we're being careful with their dollars.

By changing this Farm Bill debate, our reform coalition was able to push the Agriculture Committee to make additional investments in conservation and nutrition, and make some modest inroads on limiting subsidies to the largest and wealthiest farmers. On the very morning of the vote, the Chairman included additional funding for the Grassland Reserve Program and McGovern/Dole, and made needed reforms to the federal crop insurance program -- all a direct result of the pressure our amendment created.

I am proud of the work of my colleagues, Reps. Flake (R-Ariz.), Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Ryan (D-Ohio), and others, as well as the broad coalition of groups who helped bring awareness to this bill and its great potential to help feed the hungry, promote healthy food, and better the environment. I urge them to continue their efforts, as I will, when the Senate moves forward with the development of their Farm Bill.

I remain hopeful that we will have an opportunity to reform our farm policies to benefit family farmers before it is done for us by foreign courts through the WTO.