January 18, 2011
On January 10-11, 75 people representing over 50 NSAC member organizations convened for the Annual Winter Meeting of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. This year’s meeting took place in Washington DC.
The meeting began with a Progress Report on 2010 priorities, including a a celebration of our victories in getting appropriate food safety measures for family farms and local food systems into the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, getting mandatory funding for the new Farm-to-School Program in the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, and helping with efforts to secure funding for the settlement between USDA and black farmers.
Members voted for a full slate of priority work for 2011, including implementation work on the food safety and child nutrition bills, working lands conservation with a focus on the Conservation Stewardship and Environmental Quality Incentives programs, the pending livestock competition and contract reform rulemaking, programs for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative, and the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, with special attention to value-added, local food, farmers markets, and farm to school grants.
The membership also developed a tentative roster of measures to improve the next Farm Bill for sustainable and organic farmers and ranchers and food system entrepreneurs. The 2008 Farm Bill is up for reauthorization in 2012, with many new Representatives on the House Agriculture Committee and new leadership of both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
In the coming six months, NSAC organizations will be holding listening sessions to get additional input from farmers, rural community leaders and others as we hone our proposals for the next Farm Bill and get ready to release our farm bill platform.
We also mapped out work on FY2011 appropriations and the FY2012 budget and appropriations, including farmer fly-ins to Washington DC to meet with USDA, the Office of Management & Budget, and members of Congress, as well as plans for in-district meeting with members of Congress.
This year’s annual summer meeting will take place in August in the Portland, Oregon area.
Categories: General Interest