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Antitrust Reform in Agriculture and More

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antitrust reform in agriculture

Antitrust Reform in Agriculture, Food Safety Modernization Act, Scholarships, and the Latest from the House Ag Committee in this Week’s Roundup from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

The Time is Ripe For Competition and Antitrust Reform in Agriculture 

This is the first of several blogs which will explore the impacts of consolidation and concentration in the agriculture industry on farmers and the broader food system, as well as a path forward. The blog series is authored by NSAC Policy Fellow Billy Hackett with meaningful contributions by farmers and experts.

The practice of limiting the size and market share of massive corporations for the preservation of competition, once a core tenant of American free market economic policy, has faded to relative obscurity through a combination of lax regulatory enforcement and a proliferation of consumer facing brands that obscure the degree to which many market categories lack real choice. Now, public concern is rising once again – and antitrust enforcement is at a crossroads. Is it time for antitrust reform in agriculture?

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Funding Now Available To Help Farmers with FSMA 

Farmers are working to improve food safety on the farm, and prepare for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections, but this requires both assistance and resources. We are excited that the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) applications have just opened up and will provide organizations with funding to assist and help farmers and small food businesses with both FSMA and food safety.

FSOP is a federal grants program that funds community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, cooperative extension, and local, state, and tribal governments’ programs focused on food safety and FSMA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced $9.6 million in FSOP grant funding this year – the most funding ever available and an increase of almost $2 million from last year.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, April 1, 2021. For more application details, see below: 

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Cynthia Hayes Memorial Scholarship Now Accepting Applications 

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), in partnership with The Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON), and Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) released their annual scholarship in memory of the late Cynthia Hayes, co-founder and former director of SAAFON. The scholarship welcomes Black and Indigenous MANRRS-registered students who are interested in sustainable agriculture and how it affects Black farmer communities and food justice in the United States to apply.

Applications must be sumbitted to scholarships@sustainableagriculture.net by March 8th, 2021. 

For eligibility requirements and more application details, visit our website: 

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Release: House Agriculture Committee Includes Needed Aid in Budget Reconciliation Provisions 

This Tuesday, The House of Representatives released the Agriculture and Nutrition title of the FY2021 Budget Reconciliation bill, intended to address ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would help realize much of the $1.9 trillion dollar response plan put forward by the Biden-Harris Administration. The range of spending in this bill—and in the Senate version expected to be released soon—is very broad, including direct payments to individuals, enhanced SNAP benefits, extended unemployment insurance, protections for some renters, as well as a number of provisions related to farm and food systems summarized below. 

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FSMA: It’s Back! And Farmer Comments Are Needed 

About six years ago, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) kicked off a comment campaign around the Food Safety Modernization (FSMA) regulations that could negatively impact small farms, local food systems, and sustainable agriculture. Now, a new FSMA regulation is being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and FDA needs to hear organizations, food businesses, and farmers once again.

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