BRADDOCK, PA – Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman wrapped up a busy Senate session last week, during which he delivered several wins for farmers and the agricultural economy.
Senator Fetterman introduced the following pieces of legislation that would secure funding; make programmatic reforms; and invest in urban agriculture, organics research, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Requires USDA’s research agencies to better coordinate on organic research and extension.
- Ensures USDA considers organic research priorities in its budget justification to Congress.
- Requires USDA to study the feasibility of certifying more research land as organic.
- Increases mandatory funding for the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), which supplies grants to universities and other organizations for organics research.
- Builds on the administration’s organic research work by creating a statutory grant program studying producers’ decisions to transition to organic production.
- Repeals the restriction on striking workers from receiving SNAP and affirmatively protect the eligibility of striking workers to receive SNAP.
- Protects public sector workers who are fired for striking from being “considered to have voluntarily quit” for eligibility purposes.
- Clarifies that any income-eligible household can receive SNAP benefits regardless of if a member of that household is involved in a strike.
- Unites two major issues – expanding SNAP and protecting organized labor – that Senator Fetterman is championing for working people.
The Poultry Grower Fairness Act:
- Grants USDA administrative enforcement authority over live poultry dealers.
- Directs courts to award “reasonable attorney’s fees” when poultry and livestock farmers prevail in lawsuits against the companies with whom they contract for animals and feed.
- Extends the protections of the Packers and Stockyards Act to the growers of breeder hens and pullets.
- Helps small poultry farmers and fights corporate consolidation in the agriculture business.
- Supports the growth of urban and suburban farmers through increased programmatic and research funding.
- Makes 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.
- Enables cooperative agreements with community experts.
- Increases access to grant funds directly to farmers.
- Scales up composting and food waste initiatives.
- Combats food deserts and malnutrition in urban areas and supports small, beginning, and underserved farmers.
When Congress returns to Washington in September, Senator Fetterman will continue championing these issues and delivering wins for PA and the nation, particularly through his work on the Farm Bill as a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Chair of the Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research.