What is the Checkoff Program and Why Does it Need Reform?

Todd Carney is a law student at Harvard Law School and guest contributor on this blog. Many recall the popular ad campaign, “got milk?” but few know the source of these ads. The ads came from “checkoff programs.” Checkoff programs gather money from farmers in a shared industry; and conduct research and advertising to promote that industry. The United States…

Continue Reading

What the Outcome of the 2020 Election May Mean for Agriculture and the Farm Bill

Libby Dimenstein is a law student enrolled in the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic and guest contributor on this blog. After three long days, it finally happened: the major news networks called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. Although farmers expressed strong support for Trump in months leading up to the election, perhaps because they feared…

Continue Reading

Farmers to Families: Has the Program Delivered on Its Promises?

Mariana Munera is a law student at NYU School of Law and guest contributor on this blog. The USDA Farmers to Families Program is now entering its fourth round of funding with an additional $500 Million in funding. The program originally started as a way to bridge the gap between farmers, who lost business from restaurants, hotels, and other sources…

Continue Reading

New USDA Egg Safety Rule Leaves Small Producers Behind

Julia Harvey is a law student at NYU School of Law and guest contributor on this blog. On September 9, 2020, USDA announced a new final rule that aligns egg safety inspection practices with those already used in other USDA-regulated industries including meat and poultry. The rule requires egg production facilities to develop and implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point…

Continue Reading

USDA Extends Critical School Lunch Waivers, but More is Needed

Hannah Yang is a law student at NYU School of Law and guest contributor on this blog.  The USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s mission is “to increase food security and reduce hunger.” As part of its mission, it oversees the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or reduced lunch for eligible students while school is in session. The Summer…

Continue Reading

New FBLE Backgrounder: COVID-19 Response & Farm Bill Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of new and difficult challenges for families, farmers and other small business owners, and food producers across the country. While closures of schools, restaurants, and hotels help slow the rapid spread of infection, they have also resulted in surges in unemployment and food insecurity. Moreover, these closures cut farmers off from key markets…

Continue Reading

Expanding Support for Local and Regional Food Systems in COVID-19 Response

Originally published at the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy, Food Law & Policy Blog. As the response to coronavirus continues and states increase or extend stay-at-home orders or advisories, the local food system is in a precarious position. The CARES Act stimulus explicitly includes the local food system in a new $9.5 billion disaster relief program. But…

Continue Reading

New Horizons for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Disasters and Pandemics (D-SNAP & P-SNAP)

While it’s currently a challenge not to keep up with the latest developments on COVID-19, you might not know that states have been tirelessly submitting requests to the federal government for major disaster declarations. At the time of this writing, New York, California, Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Georgia, Oregon, Connecticut, Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Colorado,…

Continue Reading

Actions for Congress and USDA to Support Local and Regional Food Systems During COVID-19

Originally published at the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy, Food Law & Policy Blog. As social distancing measures close schools and public gatherings nationwide, farmers markets closures reveal a difficult reality for a particularly vulnerable segment of the food system: local and regional farmers and ranchers. Estimates indicate that direct-to-consumer markets and institutional purchases, such as…

Continue Reading

Student Series: Investigation into USDA’s Handling of Climate Research

The USDA has come under scrutiny recently over whether the agency withheld various climate change reports from the public. On September 19, 2019, Senate Democrats released a report (the DPCC report) citing more than 1,400 climate studies from USDA that the agency failed to publicize. According to the report, the USDA did not issue announcements or press releases on more…

Continue Reading