The 2012 Farm Bill

An Opportunity to Support Farmers and Promote Public Health

A new report, Planting the Seeds for Public Health: How the Farm Bill Can Help Farmers to Produce and Distribute Healthy Foods, released today by Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc., shows that federal policies impede farmers’ ability to make fruits and vegetables more widely available and affordable.

The report provides policy recommendations to help farmers to grow and distribute fruits and vegetables and emphasizes that many of the recommended changes could be made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture without the need for additional direction from Congress. However, if such policy amendments do not occur, action in the next Farm Bill may be required.

Some key policy recommendations include:

  • Provide crop insurance for fruits and vegetables and disaster assistance coverage equivalent to that provided for farmers who grow non-perishable commodities.
  • Explore policy changes to enable farmers participating in the commodity programs to use program acres for the planting of fruits and vegetables.
  • Encourage farmers, public health leaders and consumer advocates to identify ways to increase demand for fruits and vegetables in order to keep pace with increases in supply.

The report was commissioned by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to inform the Foundation’s efforts to increase access to affordable healthy foods and help children and families eat a healthier diet.