PNS Daily Newscast - July 7, 2020 

The U.S. Supreme Court rules against rogue 2016 Electoral College voters; SBA pandemic aid goes to companies that don't pledge to save or create jobs.

2020Talks - July 7, 2020 

Biden's climate change task force is making some progress; a federal judge orders the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down; and today sees elections in NJ and DE.

“FRESH” Approach on the Table for Farming in VA

October 24, 2007

Richmond, VA – It's fresh, and it's on the table for Congress to consider. The Farm, Ranch, Energy, Stewardship and Health Act, or "FRESH," is an alternative to the next U.S. Farm Bill, and it already has Virginia family farmers, taxpayer watchdogs, and health experts on board.

Jim Lyons, with Oxfam America, says the bill does the tough job of reforming the controversial commodity payment system, which has historically sent most of the Farm Bill money to corporate farms in just a few states.

"Everybody supports family farms, but it is a misrepresentation to say that current farm policy, and this Farm Bill, is going to benefit family farmers –- it's not."

Lyons says giving billions in taxpayer money to farm corporations that already are profitable violates a basic sense of fair play in the marketplace.

"They compete with small, family farmers for land purchase and for rents, and as a result, many small farmers can't continue to compete."

Lyons explains the "FRESH" Act would create an insurance-based system to cover all producers, including ranchers and farmers who grow fruits and vegetables. Right now, only farmers of grain and cotton receive the commodity payments, but supporters of the current system say the subsidies help keep prices low for consumers. The Senate Agriculture Committee votes on its version of the next Farm Bill today.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA