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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

MO family farmers: Inflation Reduction Act funds not for factory farms

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023   

Advocates for Missouri's small family farms have taken to the U.S. Capitol today, to talk with lawmakers about what could be done in the next Farm Bill to better protect the nation's food resources and family farmers.

Nearly 200 groups have signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging him to reconsider including conservation practices supporting factory farms, which often add to local pollution problems.

Tim Gibbons, communications director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, said the USDA's decision to allow mega-farms to qualify for "climate smart" conservation payments is controversial.

"Here in Missouri and throughout our entire country, quite literally, the corporate industrial takeover of the livestock industry is, and has been, done with use of taxpayer dollars at the expense of farmers, consumers, our environment, our economy," Gibbons contended. "And our democratic process in general."

Gibbons added there is a need to ensure taxpayer dollars fund family farmers and ensure consumers have access to meats and other farm products grown and harvested locally. The Farm Bill officially expired in September, but Congress has not taken the necessary steps to pass a new one.

Gibbons believes the Inflation Reduction Act should have specific safeguards in place to protect small farmers and to prevent factory farms from taking advantage of tax breaks.

"Factory farm corporations have been one of the main contributors to environmental damage and climate change," Gibbons asserted. "So, Missouri and U.S. taxpayers, we shouldn't be paying for them to clean up their act. They should clean themselves up."

The letter to Secretary Vilsack claimed industrial farming practices exacerbate climate change, waste taxpayer dollars and harm Indigenous and underserved communities, all of which run counter to the intent of the Inflation Reduction Act.


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