McGovern Introduces New Bill to Support American Farmers and Rural Communities through Plant-Based Food Production

  • Farm

WASHINGTON—Today, July 28, 2023, U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and Senior Member of the House Agriculture Committeeintroduced a bill to support American farmers and rural communities through plant-based food production.

McGovern’s bill establishes new opportunities for farmers and food companies, creates new jobs in farming communities, advances USDA’s efforts to connect American farmers to new markets at home and abroad, and expands consumer choices at the grocery store, through plant-based food research and production.The Peas, Legumes, and Nuts Today Act, orPLANT Act, provides a blueprint for maintaining America’s leadership in plant-based food production, while empowering farmers and rural communities and producing delicious, affordable food options for all Americans.

“The PLANT Act will help us win the future of food,” said Congressman McGovern. “Plant-based foods are already creating new opportunities for farmers across the country and exciting new options for consumers, and this legislation will be a game-changer. By putting farmers and their communities front and center as we grow the greatest plant-based sector in the world, we can create countless good jobs while showing the world what makes American agriculture so strong. Now is the time to embrace the enormous potential that plant-based foods have to strengthen our economy and our food system.”

“Congress should do more to support farmers and food companies making plant-based foods when Congress renews the Farm Bill,” said Environmental Working Group’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “Right now, America is the world’s plant-based foods leader, but other countries are making big investments in their plant-food sectors. If Congress does not support our farmers and food companies, America could lose our place as the world’s plant-based foods leader. Supporting plant-based foods in the farm bill helps the farmers growing ingredients, helps the rural workers turning those ingredients into great foods, and helps ensure that America remains the world’s plant-based foods leader. USDA has always supported our meat and dairy farmers, investing more than $50 billion since 1995. Now, to maintain our global leadership role, it’s time for USDA to also support the farmers growing for the plant-based industry.”

“We are thrilled to endorse the PLANT Act as a critical step in ensuring strong federal support for plant-based foods," said the Plant Based Foods Association’s Vice President of Food Systems and Policy Nicole Negowetti. “This legislation championed by Representative McGovern will create more opportunities for farmers, provide essential support to food manufacturers–like many of our PBFA members–and bolster efforts to promote the growth and export of plant-based foods. By empowering a diverse range of stakeholders, from farmers to manufacturers and brands, we can accelerate the advancement of plant-based foods and contribute to a healthier, sustainable, and inclusive food future.”

“I’m so grateful that Congressman McGovern has made the farmers and companies providing plant-based options a priority for USDA,” said artist and plant-based food activist Moby. “We need more leaders to join Congressman McGovern to help make sure that USDA is providing as much support as possible for plant-based foods. Giving consumers what they want – which is more plant-based options – is good for the climate, farmers, and food companies.”

“Chefs are seeing first-hand the growing interest in plant-based options as more and more consumers are looking for ways to build healthier diets or to make choices that reflect their values, said world-renowned celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern. “Congress should make it easier for consumers to make these choices by supporting the farmers who produce the ingredients, and by supporting the companies to turn these ingredients into the food we love. We've invested billions in federal funding to build the world's largest animal protein industry, so it's past time for USDA to do more to also lend a hand to farmers and plant-based entrepreneurs.”

The United States is already the world leader in plant-based food production, with over 55,000 people directly employed in a sector that generates $4.5 billion in annual revenue. Other countries are making significant public investments in plant-based food innovation that may eclipse U.S. production. Since 2020, Canada, France, Denmark, Australia, the European Union, and Sweden have all invested more in this sector than the United States. The PLANT Act would enable the U.S. to maintain a leadership role in plant-based food production by supporting farmers, food manufacturing workers, and rural communities. Specifically, the PLANT Act would provide support for U.S. farmers who grow the ingredients used in plant-based foods; ensure that food companies who turn those ingredients into plant-based foods are eligible for USDA producer programs; and make targeted R&D investments at USDA to foster American innovation.

The PLANT Act is supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders who recognize that the success of the U.S. plant-based sector presents an unprecedented opportunity to support American agriculture and rural communities, including: All Y'alls FoodsBarvecueBefore the ButcherBen & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.Beyond Meat, Inc., Califia FarmsCLO-CLO VEGAN FOODSDanone North AmericaEat Just, Inc.EverGrainGreenleaf FoodsHungry PlanetICL Food SpecialitiesInfinite Foods Group, IncIsh FoodsLifestock, Inc.Mission:Plant LLCMyForest Foods Co.No Evil FoodsOatlyOutstanding Foods., Patch OrganicsPlantasia FoodsPlanteneersPlanting Hope Brands, LLCPLNT BurgerRoquetteThe Tofurky CompanyTwo River Gourmet Mushrooms LLCunMEATUpfieldUpton's NaturalsPlant Based Foods AssociationPlant Based Foods InstituteEnvironmental Working GroupA Well-Fed WorldAcademy of Nutrition and DieteticsAgriculture Fairness AllianceAmerican Heart AssociationAmerican Mushroom InstituteAmerican Sustainable Business NetworkBalancedBetter Food FoundationBrighter GreenCenter for Biological DiversityCeres Community ProjectChilis on WheelsChristian Animal Rights AssociationClimate Refarm, Coalition for Healthy School FoodCultivate Empathy for AllEarthjusticeEat for the EarthFair Start MovementFarm ForwardFood System InnovationsFriends of the EarthHBCU College of Plant-Based Lifestyle MedicineHealth Care Without HarmHealthy Kids, Happy Planet!Mercy for AnimalsNatural Resources Defense Council, New Roots InstituteNorth American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE)Phoenix Zones InitiativePhysicians Committee for Responsible MedicinePlant Based TreatyProVeg USPublic Justice CenterReducetarian FoundationSanta Cruz Climate Action NetworkTerra AdvocatiThe Humane LeagueThe Raven CorpsVoters For Animal RightsWomen Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and AgricultureWorld Animal ProtectionZero Hour, Dr. David Julian McClementsDr. Sisheng LiDr. Tugba CaparDr. David A. SelaDr. Qian JuDr. Alissa NoldenRamdattu SanthapurTom ColicchioAndrew ZimmernBill TelepanCathal ArmstrongDavid GuasElizabeth Hemphill-BurnsEmily LuchettiHari PulapakaJim SmithJohn J Iuzzini IIIKevin F FonzoMary Sue MillikenMichael LevitonMJ AdamsNancy CushmanPaul ReillyC. Rey KooRon DupratSamone LettSanaa AbourezkTerrance Brennan, and William Dissen.