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Specialty Crops Bill Benefits Farmers,
Consumers and Environment
AFT Endorses EAT Healthy America Act

Jennifer Morrill, 202-378-1255 or jmorrill@farmland.org
Washington, D.C., March 20, 2007—“In the EAT Healthy America Act, Congress is working to ensure an abundant and affordable supply of fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops for the world’s consumers and to enhance the conservation efforts of the farmers,” says Ralph Grossi, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT). The legislation was re-introduced by a broad bi-partisan Congressional coalition led by Representatives Cardoza (D-CA), Kuhl (R-NY), Larsen (D-WA), McCarthy (R-CA), Putnam (R-FL) and Salazar (D-CO). The bill provides a way to address the unmet needs of specialty crop farmers who seek government investment in research to mitigate pests and invasive species, conservation and nutrition programs rather than crop subsidies.

“Now is the time 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,” adds Grossi. “With the epidemic levels of diet-related diseases and mind-boggling national health care costs associated with them, we can’t afford to pretend these issues are going to disappear.”

“U.S. farm policy can revolutionize the conservation efforts of farmers and ranchers on America’s working lands,” says Grossi. “This bill has new ideas like a conservation loan program that would help farmers finance additional conservation practices. We use half of our land in this country to provide food, fiber and energy, which has an enormous impact on our natural resources and human environment. We’re at a critical juncture as a society, trying to grapple with multi-faceted issues such as the intersection of farm, food and environmental policy. With proposals like this we can have a farm bill that helps farmers be competitive, profitable stewards of the land, while improving nutrition and other benefits to all people.”

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 to expand the benefits to the public through its farm policy campaign. AFT issued Agenda 2007: A New Framework and Direction for U.S. Farm Policy with the details of such key ideas last year. A full copy of Agenda 2007 report and other farm policy campaign materials can be seen at www.farmland.org, and AFT will provide briefings to organizations upon request.

American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust