Plant Based Foods Association reveals farm bill views
March 7, 2018
The Plant Based Foods Association, a California-based coalition of 100 companies that promotes foods that are alternatives to animal-based products, is urging Congress to increase funding for specialty crops, research on plant proteins and organic production in the next farm bill. It also urges Congress to reduce the subsidies that the group believes gives advantages to traditional commodities and animal agriculture, including the dairy industry.
"PBFA supports subsidy reform to level the playing field to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace," Michelle Simon, executive director, and Jaime Athos, chairman of the board, wrote in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees.
They continued: "Meat, egg, and dairy producers too often disproportionately receive subsidies that distort the market in their favor. PBFA supports reforms of subsidy programs that would bridge the large competitive gap between commodities and specialty crops. Specifically, we would like to see a cap on total commodity benefits, annual limits on agriculture risk coverage and price loss coverage, and a crop insurance framework that protects farmers and the taxpayer. PBFA also urges the committee not to include any provision to limit the use of descriptive terms such as milk, cheese, meat or egg in food names that are not deceptive or misleading. Representatives of dairy-intensive states have introduced legislation to limit the use of the terms such as milk, cheese and yogurt. PBFA is sensitive to current challenges faced by the dairy industry. However, stifling innovation in the marketplace will not create additional markets for dairy products."
PBFA also said the "commodity check-off programs that support the beef, egg and dairy industries place the plant-based alternative industry at a competitive disadvantage" and said that "at a minimum, PBFA supports inclusion of provisions creating transparency and accountability in the federal check-off programs."