Brown announces introduction of additional agriculture bills to support Ohio farmers

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced the introduction of several food and agriculture bills he is working to include in the 2023 Farm Bill that will support Ohio famers and producers. 

Brown is helping to write the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and has talked with farmers and other agriculture representatives at roundtables around the state over the last year as a part of the 2023 Farm Bill planning process.

Brown’s legislative package includes the following bills:

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• The Converting Our Waste Sustainably (COWS) Act: Brown, along with Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would establish a new manure management conservation program to improve water quality, cut costs, and help farmers increase profits while taking steps to minimize agricultural runoff — which contributes to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys.

This legislation is endorsed by the National Milk Producers Federation, Danone North America, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

• Supporting Urban and Innovative Farmers Act: Brown, along with Sen. John Fetterman, D- Pennsylvania, introduced legislation to support the growth of urban and suburban farmers through increased programmatic and research funding. 

The bill would make programmatic reforms to the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) to improve the content and delivery of technical assistance to urban and innovative producers, enable cooperative agreements with community experts, increases direct access to grant funds for farmers, and scales up composting and food waste initiatives.

Endorsers of the legislation include the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, CEA Alliance, Fair Food Network, Food Trust, PASA Sustainable Agriculture, ReImagine Appalachia, RAFI-USA, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Produce Perks Midwest, Farm to Table NM, Local Matters, Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council.

• The Enabling Farmers to Benefit from Processing Nutrition Programs Act: Brown, along with Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, introduced bicameral legislation to make it easier for families to use nutrition assistance benefits at farmers markets by helping farmers participate in federal nutrition programs. This would also make it easier for farmers to participate as authorized vendors under various nutrition programs.

 The bill would require the Department of Agriculture to:

• Streamline the application process for farmers and ranchers to participate as authorized vendors under the various nutrition programs.

• Streamline the equipment/technology systems needed by farmers to process the benefits under the various nutrition programs.

• Provide free wireless or mobile processing equipment and systems for farmers markets.

Endorsers of the legislation include the Farmers’ Market Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition and Rural Coalition.