A Transformational Idea for the 2023 Farm Bill
Saturday, February 18 at 4 p.m.
The “modern” version of the farm bill is built around a coalition of commodity, anti-hunger, and conservation agriculture advocates. It is a $787 billion program that has evolved incrementally since 1973. It affects everyone who eats and pays taxes, yet it is formulated in obscurity by a very narrow set of interests. The bill props up and protects an archaic agricultural and nutritional perspective and should be replaced by more current, equitable, and scientifically-illumined legislation. The problem? There is an entrenched agribusiness sector with a $1 trillion interest in keeping in place a system that they write to benefit themselves. How do we overcome this economic power? The circumstances leading up to the 2023 Farm Bill provide a unique alignment of factors that could lead to a uniquely different farm bill.
Ricardo Salvador is an agronomist with more than 40 years of experience in academia, philanthropy, and advocacy. Born and raised in southern Mexico, he completed his higher education at New Mexico State University and holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University. As director and senior scientist of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ricardo leads a team of interdisciplinary scientists and policy analysts to make the case that modern, sustainable practices can be highly productive while also protecting the environment, producing healthy food, and creating economic opportunity for all.