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Joe Maxwell, Co-founder and President of Farm Action, and Aaron Lehman, President of Iowa Farmers Union, will take a hard look at how the Farm Bill fuels industrial livestock production during a free virtual meeting organized by JFAN.  

The 2023 Farm Bill, currently making its way through Congress, is a massive, $1.4 trillion piece of legislation negotiated every five years. For far too long, the Farm Bill has enabled factory farms and industrial agriculture to thrive. 


Maxwell and Lehman will each start with short presentations on the 2023 Farm Bill with Maxwell providing the national 

perspective and Lehman on how the bill specifically affects Iowa. A vibrant discussion between the two follows adding greater depth and understanding of the issues. 


Maxwell’s national focus will cover: 


  • A brief overview of the Farm Bill

  • How the Farm Bill supports and increases the growth of CAFOs

  • Negotiations to try to shift funding to small-scale farms 

  • How Congress could approach funding for climate-smart agriculture and tailor the bill to seriously address climate mitigation and food insecurity

  • Other agricultural bills that could be folded into the 2023 Farm Bill to curb the growth of CAFOs

  • The current state of negotiations in Congress. Farm Bill negotiations are typically lengthy and challenging as many food and farming interests compete for funding. 


Lehman’s focus on Iowa includes:


  • Various components of the Farm Bill that directly impact Iowa farmers and communities

  • Stories of how Iowa farmers and communities are affected by the current balance of funding

  • How the Farm Bill could support a resurgence of traditional, independent livestock farmers

  • Specific Iowa programs for family farms and local foods that would benefit from a fairer balance of funding

  • How climate-smart legislation that impacts Iowa, such as those benefiting carbon pipelines and methane digesters, may play out in the 2023 Farm Bill.


Maxwell and Lehman will each share:


  • Work being done by Farm Action, Iowa Farmers Union, and National Farmers Union to support 2023 Farm Bill funding for small scale livestock farmers 

  • What we need to remain alert for during Farm Bill negotiations

  • Action steps we can take to promote a more just and fairer 2023 Farm Bill.

Time will be reserved for a Q&A session.
Joe Maxwell has a long and varied career advocating for traditional, independent farming practices. Prior to co-founding Farm Action, Maxwell was Executive Director of the Organization of Competitive Markets. He’s held key positions in both political and initiative petition campaigns. During the last election cycle, Maxwell assisted Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates in developing their antitrust, agriculture, and food policy positions. Maxwell served as a Missouri elected official for 14 years as a state legislator and Lt. Governor where he pushed for legislation supporting traditional animal husbandry while opposing large-scale, industrial livestock facilities.  He and his brother are Missouri family farmers.  
Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmer Union president since 2016, is a fifth-generation family farmer from rural Polk County where he and his family raise corn, soybeans, oats and hay in both organic and conventional rotations. He previously served as IFU vice president,  executive director and legislative director and sat on the National Farmers Union Policy Committee. Lehman is on the Advisory Board of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and is a  member of Practical Farmers of Iowa. 
The webinar is free and pre-registration is required. REGISTER HERE


The Farm Bill and Factory Farms: Could the Farm Bill Be Encouraging CAFO Growth Near You?  is organized by Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc. and co-sponsored by Farm Action, Iowa Environmental Council, Southeast Iowa Sierra Club, Poweshiek CARES, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The webinar is free. 

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