Wrap up of Lame Duck Session of Congress – Significant Victories for Sustainable Food & Farming

Posted on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 by Jeanne Merrill


The lame duck session of Congress, which is wrapping up this week, took action on  a number of priorities for the sustainable food and agriculture community.  Courtesy of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, here are the highlights:

  • Child Nutrition: Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act also known  as the Child Nutrition reauthorization bill. The bill authorizes $4.5 billion over 10 years to increase the nutritional standards for food in schools. The bill also include $40 million in mandatory funding for farm to school initiatives, including programs to source food for school meals from local farmers, school garden programs and hands-on nutrition education programming. For more on the Child Nutrition Act see: http://sustainableagriculture.net/category/farm-to-school/
  • Food Safety: In the last days of the session, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act with the Tester-Hagan amendment, which provides protections to small farmers from burdensome paperwork while keep food safety standards in place. For more on the details of the bill see: http://sustainableagriculture.net/category/food-safety/
  • Pigford II Funding: After years of inaction, Congress approved funding of $4.6 billion to settle two class-action discrimination lawsuits against USDA. Pigford v. Glickman would give $1.15 billion to black farmers who were discriminated against by USDA in the 1980s and 1990s. Cobell v. Salazar would give $3.4 billion to Indian tribes whose trust accounts were mismanaged by the Department of the Interior. For more on the settlements see: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/house-passes-pigford-funding/
  • FY 2011 Appropriations: Negotiations on an omnibus funding bill for fiscal year 2011 broke down and Congress instead passed a continuing resolution, which will maintain FY 2010 funding levels until March 4, 2011. In the new year, the House, under Republican leadership, will have to take up the issue of either passing an omnibus spending bill or passing another continuing resolution to keep the federal doors open. For details on what this means for USDA programs, see: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/congress-passes-3-month-cr/
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