Minnesota Farmer in Congress: Protecting Small Producers, Food Security

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Stud Angus, wagyu, Murray grey, dairy and beef cows and bulls grazing on grass and pasture. The animals are organic and free range, grown on an agricultural farm in Australia. Adobe Stock photo by MNC.

WASHINGTON (KELO.com) – A U.S. House subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday highlighting the threat climate change poses to the world’s food supply and how farmers can be helped adopt solutions. .

The testimony included input from a Minnesota farmer.

Bonnie Haugen, who owns a dairy farm in Fillmore County, touted her farm’s regeneration practices, including rotational grazing. She noted that it can prevent soil from eroding.

Haugen urged Congress to increase funding for programs that would incentivize farmers to implement climate-friendly practices and limit the presence of confined animal feed operations.

“Remember that the big CAFO dairies are not the same as ours,” Haugen explained. “They’re like big box stores, similar to a Walmart building in the middle of one of our small towns.”

She and other witnesses argued that corporate farms are a major contributor to harmful emissions from agriculture, which ultimately lead to more extreme weather events, disrupting growth and food delivery. Republican committee members argued that rising gas prices pose a bigger threat to agriculture right now, as well as regulations under the Biden administration.

Sarah Goldman, policy organizer for the Land Stewardship Project, said Haugen’s testimony accurately captures the challenges farmers face to help reduce the impact of climate change as they try to maintain a healthy food supply. .

“Supporting family farms is really a way to offset some of these pressures that we’ve seen,” Goldman argued.

Goldman added that market concentration is forcing too many family farms out of business and believes there aren’t enough conservation resources to keep their lands resilient and profitable.

“There are great programs out there to help farmers practice regenerative and sustainable agriculture,” Goldman acknowledged. “But there is not enough funding.”

Last year, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy reported that 67% of farmers who had applied to programs over the past decade had been rejected, in part because of a lack of funding.

Goldman stressed that she hopes the next Farm Bill will contain solutions. It must be reauthorized next year.

(Mike Moen, MNC, contributed to this report.)

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