The Trump Administration’s 2020 budget proposal would cut over $2 billion from federal food and farming programs. It’s a recipe for exacerbating the rural economic crisis and widespread pollution, not a healthy and resilient food system.
Farming is undeniably hard work. More than half of U.S. farming households actually lose money farming and rely on off-farm income to support themselves. In farming communities, stories of income inequality, farm foreclosures, food insecurity, and even suicide abound – and the situation is even more stark for farmers of color, who have been disproportionately driven out of farm ownership in the last century.
Farming systems that emphasize health and environmental stewardship, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program, can offer a reprieve. Unlike many stagnant parts of the food system, the organic sector has grown dramatically in recent years, and demand continues to outpace supply. Price premiums for organic crops can bring farm incomes into the black and reflect the true costs of sustainable food production, while offering the public a wide range of health and environmental benefits.