Posted by Lisa on May 18, 2012
Earlier this year more than 30,000 Food Democracy Now! members signed a letter calling for an Organic Farm Bill. The letter was an idealized version of what a growing number of Americans are beginning to realize: that U.S. food and agricultural policy must focus on adopting best agricultural practices that put the health of its citizens, the land and the livelihood of farmers and farm workers over the interests of industrial agriculture lobbyists.
Unfortunately, we as a nation are not there yet. Not only are our politicians out of touch with the values of the American people, but corporate agribusiness has a stranglehold on our regulatory system and our political leaders.
But with your help, we can change that.
Farmers and eaters across the U.S. benefit from a fair and healthy Farm Bill. We need your help today. Right now the House Agricultural Committee is accepting public comments on this critical piece of legislation.
As usual, there are a lot of bad ideas that Congress is considering, including cutting funding to vital programs such as nutrition, conservation and support for organic and sustainable agriculture.
We can’t let that happen! Please take a moment to join us and our allies in calling for a better Farm Bill today.
Tell Congress that you support:
- The full endorsement of all provisions of the Local Foods, Farms and Jobs Act (H.R. 3286).
- Fully funding conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, and making sure that enrollment in any new insurance subsidies are tied directly to compliance with conservation programs.
- The implementation of all provisions of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (H.R. 3236).
- Maintaining the EQIP Organic Initiative.
Reports from Washington DC about the Farm Bill negotiations have not been pretty. According to an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle by Environmental Working Group’s Ken Cook and Kari Hamerschlag, Republicans in the House Agricultural Committee have already “voted to slash $33 billion from the food stamp program while leaving farm subsidies unscathed.”
The editorial goes on to report on the latest agribusiness boondoggle that gladly steals food from the mouths of the hungry to create a “$33 billion new entitlement program that guarantees the income of profitable farm businesses. That's on top of $90 billion in subsidies for crop and revenue insurance policies.”
If this weren’t bad enough, the Senate Agricultural Committee has already voted to cut $4 million from organic research funding and cut funding to support Beginning Farmers in half. We cannot let this stand!
At the same time, the Senate Ag Committee has voted to get rid of wasteful subsidy payments. It has proposed to replace it with a new subsidized insurance program that leading sustainable agriculture advocates are calling rife with opportunities for fraud and abuse.
While Congress is looking to get rid of direct payments to commodity farmers, the subsidized insurance program it proposes to replace it with will allow giant commodity farmers and insurance companies to walk away with billions in taxpayer dollars while putting the land, soil and environment at greater risk.
According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Ferd Hoefner, "By failing to place limitations on crop insurance subsidies and to re-attach soil erosion and wetland conservation requirements to crop insurance programs, the Committee has failed to do the full reform that is needed.”
We can’t allow this to happen. Join us today in creating real reform and a healthy, organic future!
Thanks for helping Food Democracy Now! and our allies at the Organic Farm and Research Foundation, Environmental Working Group, the Organic Consumers Association and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition stand up for farmers and eaters today!
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
1. “We Need an Organic Farm Bill,” The New York Times, February 21, 2012 http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/540?t=8&akid=556.145879.OOA1P0
2. “Tell Congress I Want an Organic Farm Bill”, Food Democracy Now!, February 25, 2012 http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/593?t=10&akid=556.145879.OOA1P0
3. “'Healthy food' bill should replace farm bill”, The San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2012 http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/594?t=12&akid=556.145879.OOA1P0
4. “NSAC Comments on Senate Farm Bill Markup and Passage”, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, April 26, 2012 http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/595?t=14&akid=556.145879.OOA1P0