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

 

Soil Health in Iowa

Iowa’s current and future agricultural productivity relies on healthy soils. Agricultural practices have already resulted in losses of one-half to one-third of our topsoil and soil carbon.

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Conservation Innovation Grants Beginning Farmer Case Study: Eric Thalken

Originally from Ogallala, Nebraska, Eric spent part of his childhood in The Cornhusker State, and part of it in The Keystone State—Pennsylvania. He grew up in a family with a conventional farm mindset. Upon returning to Nebraska, Eric studied agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then became a sales agronomist.

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Protect your property rights

Our Unicameral Legislature gave first-round approval to Legislative Bill (LB) 227. An amendment to the “Right to Farm Act,” this bill is being sold as a litmus test in a divisive political environment. A vote against, we are told, is a vote against agriculture.

Don’t be fooled. It’s a false choice.

LB 227 is a bill to limit your personal property rights. Every landowner is entitled to the use and enjoyment of their land. When someone or something interferes with that right, you can pursue legal remedies. This is a last resort when nothing else works.

For our citizens, for our schools, for our future

We are more than six months removed from the election of our state legislators. While time has passed, voters have not forgotten the stumps on property tax relief that prompted their votes. Now, the true test of our senators’ commitment to tax reform and property tax relief for all Nebraskans is about to play out.

Optimism for the passage of a property tax relief package remains.

Congress: protect farm bill conservation program mandatory funding

The undersigned organizations urge you to protect farm bill conservation program mandatory funding as you consider agriculture appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2020. We further request that you provide robust discretionary funding and support for NRCS field staff, as technical assistance is essential for the delivery of conservation support for farmers and ranchers across the country.