The U.S. was once a proud agricultural powerhouse.
Now we’re importing more food than we export while grappling with food insecurity.
Let’s harness the power of our farms to feed our neighbors. Let’s support
FOOD NOT FEED
in the 2023 Farm Bill.
Farm Action is joined by a diverse and powerful coalition of organizations.
American Grassfed Association; Farm Action; Farm Action Fund; Indiana Farmers Union; Kansas Black Farmers Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire; Operation Spring Plant; Organic Seed Alliance; Ranch Foods Direct; Rural Coalition; Socially Responsible Agriculture Project
Farm Bill Law Enterprise; Harvard Law School, Food Law and Policy Clinic; Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); Farm Forward; The Transfarmation Project
Earthjustice; Environmental Working Group; Friends of the Earth; Re:wild; Sierra Club; Union of Concerned Scientists
American Friends Service Committee; Aytzim: Ecological Judaism; Hazon; Interfaith Power & Light; Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
Plant Based Foods Institute; Slow Food USA; Unified Fields
Health Care Without Harm; Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; Rural Empowerment Association for Community Health
American Sustainable Business Network; Food Integrity Campaign; Hand, Heart, and Soul Project; Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA)
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
A January 2023 poll shows:
Prioritize healthy and sustainable food for people over feed for animals.
Support the production and consumption of healthier foods.
Want investment in healthy food production to decrease national healthcare costs.
The poll was conducted by GQR between January 12 – 23, 2023, and commissioned by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
A new poll shows:
78% prioritize healthy and sustainable food for people over feed for animals.
88% support the production and consumption of healthier foods.
83% want investment in healthy food production to decrease national healthcare costs.
Source: Polling on January 23rd, 2023 commissioned by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Food Not Feed is a strategy to reform agricultural policy developed by Farm Action and backed by a growing movement of farmers, health, faith, environment, labor, and animal advocates.
While current federal agricultural policy pushes farmers to grow industrial animal feed to meet global market demands, Food Not Feed provides a vision for a future food system in which farmers are empowered to grow nutritious food for their communities. We aim to shift federal farm supports toward fiber-rich foods and regeneratively raised livestock and poultry within a system that’s fair and equitable from seed to fork.
At the heart of Food, Not Feed is the belief that the farm bill should create more opportunity for farmers, not more profits for corporations.
Take it from rancher Mike Callicrate: Food Not Feed will rebuild our local and regional food systems.
Our own government recommends we fill our plate with 50% fruits and vegetables, yet only 4% of farm subsidies go to their production. Meanwhile, the bulk of government spending goes towards feed crops for livestock all over the world.
Federal subsidies ensure an excess of cheap corn and soybeans. This benefits multinational meatpacking corporations, which buy corn and soybeans at low costs and turn around to make record profits. In fact, about 42% of corn and 30% of soybeans grown in the U.S. go towards industrial animal feed production. These numbers do not account for exports, which are a major money-maker for corporations.
We call this mechanism the Feed-Meat Complex. It has contributed to the devastating loss of America’s independent family farms: In 1950, there were 5.6 million farms raising 100 million farm animals. In 2017, there were 2 million farms raising 9.32 billion farm animals.
The Feed-Meat Complex is one of the primary tools of corporate greed — and one we can eliminate with Food Not Feed.
Thanks to corporate control over the food system, the United States grows more and more feed grains like corn and soybeans, and less and less food for people. We’re only growing about 25% of the dietary fiber our population needs, so we have to import two-thirds of our fresh fruit and one third of our fresh vegetables.
We’ve racked up a trade deficit due to this dependence on produce imports, leaving Americans more vulnerable than ever to the whims of foreign governments and global trade.
Shifting support away from industrial grains would shore up U.S. food security and yield substantial economic benefits. Fruits and vegetables are higher-value products than the corn and soybeans the U.S. food and farm system currently prioritizes. Even though the soybean industry receives substantially more government support, its industry value is estimated at 20% lower than that of fruits and vegetables.
Our current food system is designed to make profits for corporations — not to make foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, cereal grains, and regeneratively-raised meat and poultry accessible and affordable to citizens.
This is the result of federal policies that shape the food system and determine what foods get support: for example, the USDA classifies fruits and vegetables as “specialty crops.”
Our diets reflect this federal support for industrial meat and processed foods:
Eating the food that the government subsidizes is taking a toll on our health:
If we shifted resources to the production of food for people — not industrial livestock — we would see improved access to healthy, nutritious food and better health outcomes for Americans.
Our current policies favor corporate-controlled industrial agriculture — even though it wreaks havoc everywhere you look.
Industrial agriculture has focused their operations largely in rural America, where the presence of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) inflicts asthma and other respiratory ailments on residents. These factory farms destroy the air people breathe, the water they drink, and the lakes and streams they can no longer use for fishing and swimming.
Industrially monocropped animal feed production degrades soil, causing nutrient runoff into groundwater and freshwater sources (mostly nitrate and phosphorus), and is commonplace in the corn belt. In Iowa alone, 61% of rivers and streams are categorized as impaired or polluted, mostly due to agricultural runoff.
Industrial meat production inflicts abusive conditions on animals for the duration of their short and uncomfortable lives. For example, female breeding pigs are contained in gestation crates barely big enough to hold them, which prevent them from even turning around. Most chickens raised for meat live their lives indoors in poorly ventilated sheds; and egg-laying chickens, usually packed ten to a cage, often have their beaks burned or cut off.