The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

New Year's Day Farm Bill Extension a Giant Step Backward

Prior Senate Gains for Healthy Food and Farms Lost Out to Big Ag Subsidies


Having failed throughout 2012 to complete a much-needed overhaul of federal farm programs, Congress wrapped a one-year extension of selected 2008 Farm Bill provisions into its 11th hour 'fiscal cliff' deal late last night. This move short-changed American farmers and consumers, according to Justin Tatham, senior Washington representative for UCS's Food & Environment Program.

Below is a statement by Tatham, who advocated all year for a new five-year Farm Bill that would give Americans the healthy food and farms they want and deserve:

"The Farm Bill extension included in the fiscal cliff package is a disgrace. For half a year, the Senate and House debated versions of a new Farm Bill that would have made some progress toward eliminating subsidies for Big Ag and shifting incentives to healthy food and smart, sustainable farming practices. But Republican leadership copped out at the last second. Support for healthy farms became agricultural runoff, while massive commodity subsidies remain in place.

"Incentives for fruit and vegetable production and much-needed programs that protect our air, water, and soil will now lose funding. The Farm Bill extension is a blow to farmers who want to grow healthy foods and the consumers who want to buy them.

"Real Farm Bill reform can't wait for the new September deadline. The incoming Congress owes it to farmers and consumers to start immediately on a new five-year Farm Bill - one that prioritizes conservation, healthy foods production and access, and research that furthers a sustainable farm future."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.