Congress Should Reject Pesticide-Laden Farm Bill

Media Contacts
Kara Cook-Schultz

“Americans deserve healthy food, healthy water, and healthy air. We need a Farm Bill that promotes sustainable farming, not one that subsidizes water pollution and increased pesticide spraying.”


WASHINGTON – This afternoon, a Farm Bill (H.R. 2) loaded with anti-health provisions is back for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House previously rejected H.R. 2 by a vote of 198 to 213. Today, Congress again considers a dirty Farm Bill that would undermine protections for clean water, sustainable farming, and our health.  More specifically, H.R. 2  would:

  • Exempt pesticide pollution from the Clean Water Act, even though pesticides have contributed to more than 1,800 instances of water pollution across the country. 
  • Eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program, the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage, a program that promotes sustainable farming and good soil health.
  • Pre-empt state and local laws aimed at health and environmental impacts of factory farms.
  • Eliminate public input and sustainable impact considerations for a wide range of activities on public lands.

The bill would allow large agrochemical companies to dump toxic pesticides and chemicals into our rivers, lakes and drinking water. It would have also undermined efforts by farmers who want to produce healthier food with fewer chemicals. 

Farmers such as Iowa native Seth Watkins want to farm their land sustainably, safeguarding the land for future generations. Mr. Watkins said, “I just want us to stop subsidizing the wrong things.”

Poisoning our water and land to grow our food makes no sense. Congress should reject this dirty Farm Bill start over with legislation that promotes both healthy food and clean water.  So far, the Senate Farm Bill offers the nation a far better path than H.R. 2.  

According to Kara Cook, Toxics Director at U.S. PIRG, “We don’t need to poison our water and land to grow our food. We’re calling on Congress to continue to reject these bad policies. It is time to start over with a Farm Bill that promotes healthy food, healthy people and healthy farms.”

U.S. PIRG is an advocate for the public interest, working to win concrete results on real problems that affect millions of lives, and standing up for the public against powerful interests when they push the other way.