October 20, 2011
Only once every 5 years do you have the opportunity to truly transform our food and farm system through the federal farm bill.
Last Monday the Agriculture Committee leadership proposed to rewrite the food and farm bill in 2 weeks – yes you heard that right, 2 weeks – this is usually a year plus process and they want to do it in 2 weeks?! This would be the fastest food and farm bill decision-making process in history.
Please act today for a chance you have only once every 5 years to reform our food and farming system and protect our natural resources.
If you care about the health of America’s soil, water, and land; promoting organic practices and conservation; helping a new generation of struggling small and mid-sized farmers get their start; rebuilding local and regional food systems; or developing new markets and healthy food access – now is the time to speak up. If you want to see a healthier, more secure, environmentally sustainable, and prosperous America – now is the time to speak up.
This proposal would wipe out over 40 percent of the funding increases for conservation and environmental initiatives achieved in the 2002 and 2008 food and farm bills, setting the clock back and “un-greening” the farm bill. Moreover, it is unclear what the proposal would do to the fair and healthy farm and food system programs won in 2008 with your help, but in need of being renewed in the new farm bill. It could potentially wipe out all of those gains as well.
It just takes a minute to call:
• First check if your Senator and/or Representative sits on the Senate Agriculture or House Agriculture Committee
• If your Senator or Representative sits on either of these three committees: call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senators’ and Member of Congress’s office: 202-224-3121. Or go to Congress.org and type in your zip code, then click on your Senators and Member of Congress’s name and the contact tab for their phone number.
• If the line is busy, please leave a brief message on the voicemail.
The Message: I am a constituent, calling Senator/Representative _____ to deliver this message (use one or more of these talking points):
• The proposed farm conservation cuts are too big and should be reduced. In particular, the Conservation Stewardship Program funding should be retained and Wetlands Reserve Program funding should be restored.
• Farm commodity program reform should include caps on the amount of subsidy any one farm can receive. Loopholes allowing multiple subsidy payments to single farms should be closed. Conservation requirements should be attached to all forms of revenue and crop insurance subsidies.
• The farm bill must reinvest at least $1 billion a year in innovative, job-creating programs for rural economic development, local and regional food systems, renewable energy, organic farming, and young and beginning farmers.
*According to published accounts, the leaders of the Agriculture Committees are proposing cuts of $6.5 billion to conservation programs, $5 billion to nutrition programs, and $15 billion to commodity subsidy programs. The conservation cuts would be on top of the $2 billion already made by Congress in the appropriations process.