Courtesy of NAA:
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15) and Ranking Member David Scott (GA-13) launched an online portal to solicit Farm Bill feedback from Members of the House of Representatives, regardless of membership on the House Committee on Agriculture.
This portal provides members the opportunity to share the unique experiences and priorities of the farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and consumers they represent.
“In order to craft a comprehensive, effective Farm Bill, we must hear from stakeholders across the country,” said Chairman Thompson. “Members understand the needs of their districts best and can provide crucial insight that supports our nation’s providers.”
“The Farm Bill touches every district across America, from urban city centers to rural farming towns,” said Ranking Member Scott. “To ensure the 2023 Farm Bill is as strong as it can possibly be, I encourage every Member of the U.S. House to convey the agriculture and nutrition priorities of their district using this innovative online portal.”
What might be constructive asks for the Farm Bill?
The National Aquaculture Association recommends:
- Waive the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) eligibility limit associated with USDA disaster assistance programs for farms or ranches that derive 75% or more of their income from farm or ranch production.
- Include language directing USDA to incorporate an aquaculture definition inclusive of all commercial production of finfish, shellfish, and seaweeds for food and/or biofuels. This definition should be broadly applied to all appropriate USDA programs, clarifying that commercial aquaculture is always eligible for USDA programs housed with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agriculture Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, National Agricultural Statistic Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, Rural Business-Cooperative Service and Rural Development Agency.
- Amend the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3101) in Title XIV of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 to increase the annual authorization for the five Regional Aquaculture Centers from $5 million to $15 million. The five Regional Aquaculture Centers support aquaculture Extension and fund applied research identified and guided by the respective regional farming communities to solve critical production, marketing, and regulatory challenges. An increase in authorization and appropriation is needed to offset inflation, fund additional applied research and Extension projects directly benefiting America’s aquaculture farmers and allow each Center flexibility to hire Extension and communications personnel as deemed of importance to commercial aquaculture in each region.
The portal is open to member offices and receiving comments until June 9, 2023. Stakeholders and private citizens can submit feedback here.