Calling it “an important step forward in improving farm policy to make U.S. agriculture more competitive and provide expanded benefits to both farmers and consumers,” American Farmland Trust has endorsed the Equitable Agriculture for a Healthy America Act.

The legislation was introduced recently by a broad bi-partisan Congressional coalition led by Representatives Richard Pombo (R-CA), Adam Putnam (R-FL), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and John Salazar (D-CO).

“In the EAT for a Healthy America Act, Congress is working to insure an abundant and affordable supply of fruits, vegetables and tree nuts and other specialty crops for the world's consumers, and enhance the competitiveness of this agricultural sector through expanded research and pest mitigation programs,” says AFT President Ralph Grossi. “The 2007 farm bill provides a unique opportunity to link sound nutritional guidelines established by the health community-which call for greater consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains-to changes in agricultural policy.'

AFT has been working with farmers and ranchers, academics and key leaders to develop policy recommendations and improvements that will strengthen the future of American agriculture in a more equitable way and expand the benefits to the public through its farm policy campaign and issued Agenda 2007: A New Framework and Direction for U.S. Farm Policy with the details of such key ideas in May.

“In light of skyrocketing national healthcare costs linked to diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes, we need to promote healthier diets by supporting farmers' markets, expanding access to specialty crops and locally grown food, and facilitating institutional purchases of local and regional agricultural products,” Grossi adds.

“This is also a way to address the unmet needs of specialty crop farmers who are currently left-out of subsidy programs without adding legislation that is a tax burden to consumers or trade distorting in the world market,” says Grossi. “In addition, with this legislative proposal you can see the win-win benefits to agriculture and consumers if we move ahead and transform U.S. farm policy.”

A full copy of AFT's Agenda 2007 report and other farm policy campaign materials can be seen at www.farmland.org, and AFT will provide organizations with a briefing on Agenda 2007 upon request.