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

 

Growing taxes on Nebraska farms

The need for property tax relief in Nebraska has been well documented. In 2017, a coordinated effort to bring income tax reductions back into the Nebraska tax policy conversation gained steam. Also in consideration is a projected budget shortfall of nearly $900 million. 

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Pathways to Land Access

“Pathways to Land Access,” a report by Anna Johnson with support from Glen Ready, is a study of the Conservation Reserve Program - Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP), a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA).

In “Pathways to Land Access,” Johnson and Ready investigate implementation of CRP-TIP in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The program was created by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill.

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President’s 2018 budget undercuts rural communities

President Trump’s budget released on May 23 demonstrates his lack of understanding and prioritization of the struggles of rural communities.

Although Trump won the presidency with broad support from rural voters, his budget proposes to zero out several programs that address the challenges of rural communities. Proposed cuts include reducing or eliminating support for rural small businesses and entrepreneurs and compromising anti-poverty programs that lead to healthy families.

Answering the Call: A conference for veteran farmers

Have you seen the news? The Center for Rural Affairs is hosting a conference for veteran farmers.

“Answering the Call: Veteran Farmer Conference” is on Thursday, June 22, at the Seward Civic Center in Seward, Nebraska, starting at 8 a.m. This free conference is sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

Why a veteran farmer conference?

We want to help veterans run successful farming operations, whether they’re just starting out or have been doing this for decades.