PIRG and partners release principles for common sense reform of major farm bill

The next farm bill should promote resilience and sustainability

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Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

PIRG, Taxpayers for Common Sense, R Street, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition released our Farm Bill Principles for Common Sense Reform today.

Since the rise of agriculture, the main goal of our food system has been to produce enough food to go around and to do so as cheaply as possible. Changes to our food system that help increase yield or lower costs (at least in the short term) have been regarded as improvements. Now, our food system produces so much food that we waste 30-40% of it –  and we still have crops left over to convert to biofuels. 

This highly productive system comes with many problems, from pollution, increased global warming emissions and pollinator population collapse to consolidation of power that restricts competition and threatens the resilience and long-term sustainability of our food system. Paradoxically, the pursuit of productivity and cheap food will eventually lead to serious food insecurity if the environmental impact of the system is not reined in.

PIRG envisions a food system that produces enough nutritious food without threatening our health or the natural resources we rely on to produce food in the first place. The Farm Bill, a major piece of legislation that Congress considers every five years, influences what food is produced and how. The bill presents an opportunity to help move us toward that vision. But the current Farm Bill, which will expire in 2023, doesn’t go far enough and actually creates some significant obstacles to realizing that vision. 

Reorienting our food system to meet today’s needs and ensure its long-term sustainability and resilience will take investment. That investment should carefully consider how best to use taxpayer dollars to ensure the American people healthier food, adequate environmental protections and more resilient, self-sufficient farms. Further, the investment should help beginning farmers get started, as we all will rely on them to grow our food as older generations age out. 

If the next Farm Bill is to actually help achieve the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and taxpayers, it must be reformed to level the playing field and promote resilience and sustainability.

PIRG is proud to promote these 2023 Farm Bill Principles for Common Sense Reform, alongside our partners at Taxpayers for Common Sense, R Street and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.


Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG