2024 Annual Farmers & Friends Meeting
In late January, Cultivate KC staff attended the Winter Meeting for members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) in Washington DC. NSAC is an organization comprised of members from 130 organizations across the country that advocates for federal policy reform for the sustainability of food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. At Winter and Summer meetings, members meet in person to work collaboratively developing and refining policy priorities, building advocacy strategies, and learning from guest speakers.
The formal opening kicked off with a DC Policy Report by Mike Lavender, the Policy Director at NSAC. The big question continues to go unanswered – will we see a Farm Bill this year? Mike walked through what we know and what it means for the likelihood of a bill being signed into law in 2024.
We know that much of the Farm Bill is drafted, but there is still time to influence priorities. Money is the main factor holding up the Farm Bill, which will continue to be a contentious issue as diverse priorities compete for a fixed pool of funding. For the Farm Bill to pass, bipartisanship is essential, and reaching across political parties will continue to be a focus of advocacy. The House and Senate have yet to pass FY2024 budgets, and there are many pressing issues creating a tight congressional calendar before all attention turns to the elections in the fall. If a Farm Bill is to pass this year, the window will likely be between March and June, so now is a key time to remind Members of Congress about your priorities.
Throughout the meeting, each of NSAC’s Farm Bill campaigns hosted a plenary session covering their priorities, the status of relevant marker bills (will they make it into the Farm Bill?), and opportunities for coalition members to engage in grassroots advocacy around these topics. Stay tuned for local updates on how you can engage our Members of Congress on any of these campaign topics that are important to you.
The final day of the Winter Meeting closed with a presentation from Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She shared that she was working hard to pass a Farm Bill in 2024, and stated her commitment to ensuring that it maintains full funding for nutrition programs, protecting Inflation Reduction Act funding, and keeping conservation programs intact. She called on NSAC members to continue to “bombard your members of congress, particularly those on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.”
When NSAC member meetings are hosted in DC, they are often paired with a Lobby Day for attendees to visit their Members of Congress to share stories from the field and priorities for the Farm Bill and Agricultural Appropriations. This year, Cultivate KC teamed up with Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Kansas Rural Center to meet with the offices of Senators Jerry Moran, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt and Representatives Sharice Davids, Emanuel Cleaver, Mark Alford, Jake LaTurner, and Tracey Mann. Cultivate KC called on our representation in Washington to support climate smart agriculture programs, build on the success of existing nutrition programs, and to pass a Farm Bill this year that includes support for farms of all sizes and farmers from all backgrounds, and we encourage you to do the same. Click on any of the links above to share your 2024 Farm Bill priorities with your Members of Congress.