April 1, 2011
BREAKING: A Budget deal reached as soon as Monday will shape the future of farm conservation programs into the next decade!
This is a critical moment. The White House and House Republican leadership are negotiating a budget deal that would effectively rewrite the next Farm Bill now by taking a huge bite out of Farm Bill mandatory funding for programs that support on-farm conservation and wetland protection – programs that are truly investments in a sustainable future!
These cuts will drastically reduce total Farm Bill funding available for the 2012 Farm Bill and harm the chances of getting a decent Farm Bill next year.
Leaders in the Senate need to push back as hard as they can against a bad White House-House deal – right now, before it is too late.
It’s easy to email! Here is a sample – please put the message in your own words if possible, and use the same subject line:
Subject Line: It’s Your Farm Bill
“Dear Senator Stabenow,
I urge you to push back on any budget deal that ties your hands going in to the 2012 Farm Bill debate. Budget cuts to essential conservation programs today will limit their funding for years to come. As you know only too well, farm bill spending decisions are decisions that by congressional budget rules should be made by the Agriculture Committee, not by the Appropriations Committee. Please continue to fight for no cuts to Farm Bill conservation programs while the negotiations continue over the government funding bill.”
It’s bad enough that food and agriculture has already suffered grossly disproportional cuts in discretionary funding in the two short-term budget deals proposed by the House and agreed to by the Senate and the Administration. But now it appears the Administration may be willing to give up additional USDA discretionary program funding and also raid farm bill mandatory conservation funding, treating conservation programs as convenient give-aways in the budget negotiating process with the House.
Letters have been pouring into USDA on this issue for the past two weeks. Thank you! Now, with just a week left until the current government funding bill runs out, we need to also re-engage with Senate champions, like Chairwoman Stabenow.
If cuts to current and future Farm Bill funding need to be made they should be made by the Agriculture Committee in the context of the next Farm Bill or, if need be, in budget reconciliation. If cuts are to be made, then everything should be on the table including the $5 billion a year that is spent on direct payments – payments that go to farmers and landowners without regard to need or even crop price levels. An appropriations budget deal that singles out sustainable agriculture programs is shortsighted and unfair.
Your emails make a difference!