Farm Policy

We work with family farmers and supporters like you who care about the structure of agriculture to reform farm policy. Our goal is to create farm policy that keeps families on the land, protects our soil and water for future generations and creates opportunity for a new generation of farmers.

Family farm agriculture plays a critical role in strengthening rural communities and shaping the character of rural life. Quite simply, who farms matters.

Research has found that communities surrounded by farms that are larger than can be operated by a family unit have a few wealthy elites, a majority of poor laborers, and virtually no middle class. The absence of a middle class has a serious negative effect on social and commercial service, public education, and local government.

We don’t have the option of returning to the family farm communities of a generation ago. But we can build strong 21st century rural communities based on their key strength. Family farming afforded people who work – the common person – the opportunity to shoulder the responsibilities of ownership and enjoy its benefits. That strengthened their stake in their community and nurtured their sense of responsibility.

Today, there are new opportunities in farming, ranching and related businesses. Small dairies are remaking themselves with speciaility cheeses and organic milk. In the Midwest, hundreds of small farms are flourishing by supplying the gourmet food supplier Niman Ranch with low-stress hogs raised on straw or pasture. On the Great Plains, family growers are cultivating specialty grains for expanding niche markets. 

We’re still fighting for family farms that raise commodities, as you can see in our advocacy for tighter limits on mega farm subsidies. But we are also working to create the new 21st century opportunities for rural Americans to own the fruits of their labor.

Farm Policy Notes

 

Conservation Stewardship Program in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota

Working lands conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, provide the necessary tools for farmers and producers to maintain agricultural production on their land, simultaneously addressing resource concerns within their operations. Funding and strengthening working lands conservation programs ensure farmers and producers are supported and rewarded for their environmental stewardship.

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A Farm Bill for Rural America: Farm Bill Platform

The Center for Rural Affairs’ mission is to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all, while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities. To do that, we need a farm bill which helps rural America. While a great deal of this work is done on the ground and in communities, the overarching influence of the farm bill on every facet of this work cannot be ignored.

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Beginning farmers stand to benefit from proposed act

The average age of today’s farmer is 58 years old. Over the course of the next five years (the duration of the next farm bill), nearly 100 million acres of farmland are predicted to change hands.

Some retiring farmers and ranchers will pass their land and operations to their children or other relatives, however, many are heading toward retirement without a succession plan in place.

2018 Nebraska Legislative policy priorities

Elected representatives in Nebraska will debate a host of contentious issues during the 2018 legislative session, including economic development, budget and tax, health care, energy and environment, and food and agriculture.

Relevant developments concerning priority legislation will be shared via Nebraska Legislative Update emails. Email info@cfra.org to sign up for updates.