Farmers, Fairness & the Farm Bill

where issues of producers, policy and equity converge

A Collaborative Research Project with Rural Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition & American University's School of International Service (Washington, DC)


Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership A Trade Agreement that Threatens Existing GMO Regulations and Undermines Democracy (April 2014) 

Photo Credit: European Parliament/ Pietro Naj-Oleari 

Photo Credit: European Parliament/ Pietro Naj-Oleari 

The rights of nations, states and local governments to regulate threats to their citizens, ecosystems and economies should be stronger than international trade ties that benefit large corporations. The regulation of labeling and cultivating genetically modified organisms is possible at each of these scales of governance, but these hard-won victories are at risk of being overridden by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This proposed agreement between the United States and European Union aims to harmonize trade between these major global economies in many sectors, including agriculture. However, history has shown that harmonization often defaults to standards at the lowest common denominator. At the local level, it translates to loss of the peoples’ right to participate in shaping democracy in favor of corporate influence and economic gains. The agreement also has the potential to negatively impact international markets beyond the US and EU that have banned GMOs.

Click here to read the Citizen's Guide to TTIP (.pdf)

Supply-Managed Dairy Policy A U.S. and Canadian Comparison: Where have all the dairy farmers gone? (April 2014)

Photo Credit: American Micro-Dairies

Photo Credit: American Micro-Dairies

Dairy farmers in the US and Canada have reason to be apprehensive about their futures.  Over the last 50 years both countries have seen the dramatic restructuring of their respective dairy industries at all levels.  In the past, dairying was an operation that depended heavily upon both human and animal labor.  However, today, from cow to consumer, the dairy industry is fully-mechanized.  In addition, in recent decades, international trade regimes have galvanized influence over domestic dairy markets.  Supply management policies are receiving much wider attention today in response to the ebb and flow of global dairy production.  This research outlines transformation regarding the US and Canadian dairy industries, with an emphasis on class, state/provincial, and (inter)national struggle.

Click here to read the policy memo (.pdf)

Click here to read the full report (.pdf)

Click here to read the OpEd (.pdf)

Food Aid Reform US Food Aid on the Chopping Block?  (April 2013)

Children at a mill for locally produced rice near Tamale, Ghana.   Photo credit: Elise Szabo

Children at a mill for locally produced rice near Tamale, Ghana.

Photo credit: Elise Szabo

Sequestration and the tightening of the US federal budget have called into question the survival of many programs funded by the US farm bill, and international food aid has not escaped the chopping block. The Food for Peace program, the main deliverer of US government food aid, is garnering particular attention this budget season as President Obama explores options to reform or replace the program. This brief offers three recommendations on how to reform the US food aid system this budget cycle.

Click here to read the full report (.pdf)

Lorette Picciano, Rural Coalition

While we’re very interested in having fresh, healthy’s always much more than that. We need to be replanting people on the land where they belong, in communities where they belong and protecting the land because we have to think not only of now, but of the future.
— Lorrette Picciano, Rural Coalition

Jim French, Oxfam America

We are very concerned about the commodity payments that do distort the creates market advantages for certain commodities that are sometimes in direct competition and provides market advantages, internationally, for other farmers who don’t have that safety net system to be able to compete in that market. The same thing even occurs in the United States, we find places where farm payments have been the highest, are also those areas where we’ve had the greatest acceleration of depopulation and highest rates of poverty.
— Jim French, Oxfam America

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Community partnered action research on and for U.S. agricultural policy