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Report: Farm Bill Needs Major Makeover

January 23, 2007

The U.S. Farm Bill needs a makeover, according to a report released yesterday by farm, consumer, and community groups nationwide. Ferd Hoefner with the Ohio-based Sustainable Agriculture Coalition says the 2007 Farm Bill is still a work in progress, and Congress can still do more to help both the people who grow the food and those who eat it.

"Nearly 400 groups around the country are signing on to a new platform for the farm bill to really seek reforms, to help family farms, to improve conservation and improve public health."

Doug Nopar with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service says nutrition and public health should be a main focus of the Farm Bill.

"In many low-income areas, there's very little access to fresh produce, and that's just a real fundamental part of a healthy diet for children or for combating disease like diabetes."

The report's recommendations include promoting healthier foods to combat obesity, expanding a farmer's land conservation program, helping farmers make the transition to more profitable organic production and changing subsidy programs to benefit small and mid-sized farms. The report also calls for the Farm Bill to help bring farmers' markets into urban areas, to provide better access to local fruits and vegetables.

The report is at

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH