The only path to 2018 farm bill runs through Senate, say activists

If Congress fails to pass a farm bill this year, it will be the fault of House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway, who would harm SNAP and land stewardship programs, said six anti-hunger, environmental and small-farm groups on Monday. It was the first time in months of farm bill maneuverings, …

Permanent fix needed for SNAP purchases at farmers markets

Far more than farmer revenue is at stake in the threatened loss of SNAP sales at 40 percent of U.S. farmers markets, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday. "We believe that farmers’ ability to serve low-income families is not just important for their bottom line but also critical to genuinely healthy food systems," said the grassroots alliance in calling for a long-term solution that assures food stamp recipients can use their EBT cards to buy fresh foods at farmers markets.

USDA green-payment program covers 8 percent of U.S. farmland

Some 72 million acres of farmland are enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), 8 percent of all U.S. farmland and equal in size to Iowa and Georgia combined, says the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in a report. The CSP was the first program at USDA to provide an annual payment to producers who adopt conservation practices as part of their daily operations. The green-payment program is nearly three times larger than the better-known Conservation Reserve, which pays landowners to idle fragile land.

South Dakota senator proposes farm income support via land idling

With farm income in a slump, South Dakota Sen. John Thune unveiled a short-term land-idling program to boost a farmer's income for carrying out soil and water stewardship on marginal farmland. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), a small-farm group, said the idea "is worth looking at."