Action Alert: Where do we go from here?
February 1st, 2013
This update was sent to supporters on February 1, 2013 – stay tuned for more details and opportunities to take action soon!
We made major progress last year on the food and farm policy front. While they weren’t perfect, draft versions of the 2012 Farm Bill in Congress included long-overdue reforms, investments in the future of American agriculture, and support for protecting our natural resources – thanks to the work of advocates like you.
There’s just one problem – as you may already know, the 2012 Farm Bill never became law. Instead, on New Year’s Eve, while most of the country was counting down to midnight, a small group of legislators on Capitol Hill was quietly killing some of our nation’s most important sustainable agriculture programs. The temporary farm bill extension that Congress passed instead of a full farm bill on New Year’s Eve is, as we told the press, “a disaster for farmers and the American people.”
We weren’t the only ones caught off guard and disappointed – Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representative Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, had their good-faith bipartisan efforts pushed aside too.
Here are just a few of the problems with the current state of farm policy thanks to this extension:
- Funding has been stripped from programs that support beginning farmers, rural communities, and sustainable agriculture research – among many others.
- Instead of reforming wasteful large farm subsidies, Congress extended them – at a cost of over $5 billion.
- Farmers and ranchers won’t be able to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program – which helps them protect natural resources on their property – until at least next year.
But all is not lost! With your help this year, we will win back critical investments in the future of American agriculture – and then some. All of the victories you helped us win in 2012 – from expanded credit options for beginning farmers to strengthened support for farm to school efforts nationwide – will form the foundation for our work together in 2013.
For the sake of our communities, our farms, and our environment, the time for real change has come. You know this. We know this. It’s time to make sure everyone in Congress knows that we won’t stand for this again.
In the next few weeks, you’ll hear from us again as we launch our 2013 campaign! We’ve got our work cut out for us: there’s a new 2013 Farm Bill on the horizon, there’s funding for critical sustainable agriculture programs to protect (and win back!), and we must weigh in on behalf of family farmers on the FDA’s first overhaul of food safety rules in a generation. All of this matters for the future of food and farms across the country – and it’s up to us to speak out for the future we want.