On July 28, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced the Peas, Legumes and Nuts Today (PLANT) Act, which would help ensure that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs support farmers and companies producing plant-based foods.
The PLANT Act would establish the Office of Plant-Based Foods and Innovative Production at the USDA; increase USDA incentives for farmers producing ingredients in plant-based foods, such as pulses and mushrooms; create a new plant-based protein research program within the USDA; and create a Plant Protein Innovation Initiative to direct technical assistance and grants to businesses.
“The PLANT Act will help us win the future of food,” said 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.”
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, research shows the health benefits of replacing animal protein with plant protein for conditions including heart disease and cancer. A 2020 study published in BMJ found that replacing red meat with plant proteins such as beans, nuts or soy may be associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Another 2020 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating plant-based protein from sources such as bread, cereal and pasta instead of animal protein reduced the risk of death from heart disease by up to 12 percent. Other research published in BMJ has shown that plant-based protein also reduces risk of early death from any cause.
“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 (EWG) 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.”
For more information, visit https://mcgovern.house.gov.