Brown introduces additional ag bills


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced the introduction of several food and agriculture bills he is working to include in the 2023 Farm Bill that will support Ohio famers and producers. Brown is helping to write the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and has talked with farmers and other agriculture representatives at roundtables around the state over the last year as a part of the 2023 Farm Bill planning process.

Brown’s legislative package includes the following bills:

The Converting Our Waste Sustainably (COWS) Act: Brown, along with Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would establish a new manure management conservation program to improve water quality, cut costs, and help farmers increase profits while taking steps to minimize ag runoff – which contributes to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys.

This legislation is endorsed by the National Milk Producers Federation, Danone North America, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

“Family farms, livestock and dairy operations are the backbone of Ohio’s agricultural economy,” said Sen. Brown. “Our bill is a commonsense way to provide new tools in the 2023 Farm Bill for Ohio’s livestock and dairy operations to cut costs and boost profits while reducing pollution and protecting our lakes, rivers, and streams.”

“The US dairy industry is working on a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, and having support to upgrade on-farm manure management systems would be a valuable resource for farmers in the journey towards carbon neutrality,” said Luke VanTilburg, co-owner of MVP Dairy, Celina.

“Danone North America is proud to support Sen. Brown and his efforts with the COWS Act. Dairy yogurt is an essential nutritional option for many families and we know that by partnering with dairy farms we can work together with practical on-farm solutions that can significantly reduce GHG emissions such as methane, protect our waters and increase profitability for farms. The COWS Act will bring more financeable opportunities for dairies of all sizes across the country,” said Chris Adamo, VP Public Affairs and Regenerative Ag Policy, Danone North America.

Supporting Urban and Innovative Farmers Act: Brown, along with Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), introduced legislation to support the growth of urban and suburban farmers through increased programmatic and research funding. The bill would make programmatic reforms to the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) to improve the content and delivery of technical assistance to urban and innovative producers, enable cooperative agreements with community experts, increases direct access to grant funds for farmers, and scales up composting and food waste initiatives.

Endorsers of the legislation include the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, CEA Alliance, Fair Food Network, Food Trust, PASA Sustainable Agriculture, ReImagine Appalachia, RAFI-USA, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Produce Perks Midwest, Farm to Table NM, Local Matters, Ohio Association of Foodbanks, and the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council.

“Urban farmers create jobs and opportunity in Ohio cities, and help feed our communities – yet too often they haven’t had the support they need to compete,” said Sen. Brown. “This bill will provide new tools and resources to support urban agriculture, from research to technical assistance and direct investment.”

“Emerging challenges to producing the world’s food, fuel, and fiber will require new technologies and approaches like those outlined in the Supporting Urban and Innovative Farming Act,” said Cathann Kress, Vice President of Agricultural Administration and Dean of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “Our college’s recent investments, including the Controlled Environment Agricultural Research Complex (CEARC), aim to keep Ohio at the forefront of innovation.”

The Enabling Farmers to Benefit from Processing Nutrition Programs Act: Brown, along with Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced bicameral legislation to make it easier for families to use nutrition assistance benefits at farmers markets by helping farmers participate in federal nutrition programs. This would also make it easier for farmers to participate as authorized vendors under various nutrition programs.

The bill would require the Department of Agriculture to:

Streamline the application process for farmers and ranchers to participate as authorized vendors under the various nutrition programs.

Streamline the equipment/technology systems needed by farmers to process the benefits under the various nutrition programs.

Provide free wireless or mobile processing equipment and systems for farmers markets.

Endorsers of the legislation include the Farmers’ Market Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition and Rural Coalition.

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