USDA Secretary Perdue’s Farm Bill Priorities Silent on Reforming Programs that Benefit Corporate Interests While Hurting Family Farmers & Rural Communities

The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment (CFFE), with member organizations in four Midwest farm states, criticized U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s Farm Bill priorities released today for not reforming programs currently hurting independent family farms, rural economies and clean water while supporting corporate interests—including factory farm livestock and dairy operations.

CFFE issued the following statement:

“Secretary Perdue’s principles reflect a status quo Farm Bill, and do not respond to the challenges farmers, ranchers and rural communities are facing in the agriculture economy’s current downturn—derived largely from massive corporate over-production. Too many Farm Bill programs benefit corporate interests at the expense of family farmers and the environment.

"For example, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was started to help farms make environmental improvements. But now corporate factory farms, which house thousands of animals and generate massive quantities of manure, are gobbling up the program’s resources.

"And government-backed federal loans support the building of new factory farms or the expansion of existing ones. This further increases production. Instead of steering taxpayer loans and conservation dollars to factory farms, we need Farm Bill programs that help family farms support local economies and rural communities and protect our water and the environment. Perdue should go back to the drawing board, with a new vision that actually helps rural communities.”

The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment is: Dakota Rural Action (South Dakota), Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Land Stewardship Project (Minnesota), Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Food & Water Watch and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.