For more information on some of the programs and legislation referenced in HEAL’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities document, “A Farm Bill for a Thriving Future for Us All,” please view the list below.
Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996: Offers liability protection for people offering good faith donations of food and grocery products, as well as releasing nonprofit organizations that receive such donated items from criminal or civil liability.
Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program: Funds projects to address food and nutrition insecurity, particularly among underserved populations.
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): A green payment program that rewards landowners for habitat protection, chemical reduction, energy conservation, and other environmentally directed efforts.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Offers financial and technical assistance to farmers to improve soil, water, plant, animal, and air-related resources on agricultural land; unfortunately, a significant portion of these funds go to CAFOs.
Farm Service Agency (FSA): A USDA agency that implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs (especially for producers unable to access other lines of commercial credit), and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs through a national network of offices.
Farm to School Program: A USDA program that helps child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods in the National School Lunch Program, the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program and all associated programs.
Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act of 2022: A bill introduced in 2022 to improve and expand two long-standing federal initiatives that connect seniors and families with farmers markets and food stands.
Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program (FOTO): A USDA program created in 2018 to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers (SDVFRs) and beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) in the ownership and operation of farms and ranches through education and training; and promote equitable participation in the agricultural programs of USDA. FOTO combines the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (2501 Program).
Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act of 2021: A bill introduced in 2021 to require USDA to partner with growers, distributors, and food hubs to provide fresh, U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables to community organizations like schools, local food pantries, and youth organizations, while prioritizing socially disadvantaged farmers and entities, regional food inequities, and local and regional food systems.
Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP): A competitive grant program to develop and evaluate projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by providing incentives at the point of purchase among income eligible consumers.
Healthy Food Financing Initiative: Provides capacity building and financial resources to eligible healthy food retail projects and food supply chain enterprises to overcome the high costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas nationwide.
Heirs Property Relending Program: Provides access to capital to help producers holding heirs’ property resolve land ownership and succession issues on agricultural land.
High Tunnel Initiative: An EQIP program that provides financial assistance to enable farmers to install high tunnel or “hoop house” systems that are environmentally beneficial. HEAL recommends that the High Tunnel Initiative be split off from EQIP and made into a stand-alone program.
Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: A sweeping climate and health care package signed into law in 2022 that invests $369 billion in energy and climate issues over 10 years.
Kids Eat Local Act of 2021: A bill introduced in 2021 to support farm to school efforts by making it easier for schools to source locally grown, locally raised and locally caught food and farm products for their meal programs.
Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP): A program that supports the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing; local and regional food markets and enterprises; and value-added agricultural products. LAMP is an umbrella program that encompasses the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), Regional Food System Partnerships Program (RFSP), and Value-Added Producer Grants Program (VAPG).
National Hunger Clearinghouse and Hunger Hotline: A resource base and hotline that provides food assistance and other nutrition and social services information to low-income individuals or communities.
Office of Partnership and Public Engagement: Develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, and connects those communities to the education, tools, and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives. This includes partnerships with 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to ensure equitable participation in USDA programs and resources.
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR): Provides leadership and direction for the fair and equitable treatment of all USDA customers and employees while ensuring the delivery of quality programs and enforcement of civil rights.
Office of the General Counsel (OGC): OGC serves as the law office of USDA and provides legal services to officials at all levels of USDA, as well as technical support to members of Congress concerning the programs and activities carried out by USDA. HEAL recommends that this legal office play less of a role in USDA’s treatment and processing of complaints about discrimination and the violation of civil rights.
Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production: Supports urban producers through grants, cooperative agreements, and other programs.
Packers and Stockyards Act: An act passed in 1921 that aims to ensure fair competition and protect producers, consumers, and members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries from unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and monopolistic practices. Unfortunately, USDA did not issue regulations needed to enforce the act until 2010 — and these regulations have been continually blocked and challenged by the meat and poultry industry.
Risk Management Agency: Administers federal crop insurance.
Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Development Program (2501 Program): A program created in 1990 to offer grants to help underserved farmers, ranchers, and foresters, who have historically experienced limited access to USDA programs and services. The 2501 Program is now under FOTO.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): A federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income people by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.