WASHINGTON – Following the success of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) hosting the House Task Force on Agriculture and Nutrition in the 21st Century in the Fifth District, the Task Force returned to Washington D.C. where they held a public forum. The round table engaged a variety of key stakeholders from across the national food and agriculture community.

The Task Force will discuss the feedback of the experts as they write a unified set of priorities for the House Democratic Caucus in preparation for the 2023 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that cements funding for nutrition assistance, disaster aid, and determines agricultural allowances.

“The Task Force heard from a wide variety of stakeholders ranging from farmers and food manufacturers to environmental groups and academic centers at the forum. Their insight is so incredibly impactful, and their input provides a glimpse into the real needs of people working in the agriculture industry. The forum also served as a space to discuss the interconnectedness of Farm Bill jurisdiction and federal agencies that many people do not directly associate with the bill,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05). “One participant noted that nearly half of U.S. children ages 1 to 5 does not eat a vegetable daily. That statistic is jarring and demonstrates why we must expand vital food programs funded through the Farm Bill like the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”

“It's imperative that Congress advance a version of the Farm Bill that enables the fresh produce industry to remain competitive in the global marketplace and increases access to fruits and vegetables for vulnerable Americans,” said Mollie VanLieu, Vice President for Nutrition and Health at International Fresh Produce Association. “IFPA is committed to engaging with all stakeholders who can help ensure that our members’ priorities are reflected in the 2023 Farm Bill and appreciated the opportunity to participate in today’s roundtable discussion.”

“Thank you to Representative Hayes, Chairman Thompson, and the rest of the Task Force for inviting National Farmers Union to share our Farm Bill priorities. It’s encouraging to see the members of the Task Force working diligently toward a bipartisan bill,” Aaron Shier, Government Relations Director, National Farmers Union. “NFU looks forward to continuing our advocacy for a farm bill that supports family farmers, ranchers, and our communities.”

"Far too many people continue to lack reliable access to the nutrition they need, and this crisis is only deepening," said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). "SNAP is our nation's first line of defense against hunger. We must redouble efforts to strengthen and protect this vital program. FRAC looks forward to working with the Task Force to ensure Farm Bill 2023 includes key provisions that strengthen and protect SNAP, including expanding equitable access and making benefits more adequate."

"The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) thanks Congressman Thompson and the entire House Task Force on Agriculture and Nutrition for their important leadership as Congress begins the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization. A Farm Bill that creates new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and communities is within reach,” said Mike Lavender, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director. “NSAC looks forward to continuing to work with Congress toward a Farm Bill worth supporting - one that helps farmers confront a changing climate; opens new opportunities to credit and insurance for beginning, underserved, and diversified farmers; and ensures that all farmers have resources to compete successfully in new markets."

The public forum was attended by nearly 30 organizations focused on farming, the environment, food research, food distribution, food assistance and more: 

  1. Food Research & Action Center,
  2. National Farmers Union,
  3. American Farm Bureau,
  4. National Sustainable AG Coalition,
  5. Federation of Southern Coalition,
  6. International Fresh Produce Association,
  7. Environmental Defense Fund,
  8. American Farmland Trust,
  9. American Federation of State,
  10. County, and Municipal Employees,
  11. American Soybean Association,
  12. CARE USA, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
  13. Environmental Working Group,
  14. Feeding America,
  15. National Agricultural Law Center,
  16. National Association of Conversation Districts,
  17. National Association of State Departments of Agriculture,
  18. National Association of Wheat Growers,
  19. National Black Growers Council,
  20. National Cooperative Business Association,
  21. National Corn Growers Association,
  22. National Cotton Council,
  23. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
  24. National Grocers Association,
  25. National Milk Producers Federation,
  26. National Pork Producers Council,
  27. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association,
  28. Organic Seed Alliance,
  29. United Farm Workers
  30. and USA Rice