The long-awaited farm bill is still pushing through the halls of congress. This farm bill includes important programs for land access and new agrarians, like the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Opportunity Act.
This script from LiveRealNow offers a glimpse at what some talking points could be:
Hi! My name’s ______ and I’m a (farmer, voter, youth, constituent) living in your state. The Farm Bill’s being debated this week – can you please pass a message on to the Senator’s agricultural staffer? Thanks.
I want to make sure that we get a fair farm bill that actually works for everyone who eats, and for the people who grow our food. Right now, there are 10 amendments that I want the Senator to support, and 5 that I need (him/her) to oppose:
I’ll start with the 10 I support. Five focus on small farmers and healthy local food economies:
- Senator Brown’s local food amendment investing in local community economic development and Community Food Projects
- Senator Udall’s amendment for Socially Disadvantaged & Veteran Producer Training that will restore funding for African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, Latino, and Veteran farmers and ranchers.
- These two amendments that finally deal with our broken, wasteful crop insurance policies: SA 926 (introduced by Shaheen-Toomey) limits the annual payment to $50,000 and says people have to be actively farming to get an insurance payment. That amendment saves taxpayers $4 billion and Coburn-Durbin’s amendment limits payments to farmers that make over $750,000 a year.
- Leahy-Cowen-Collins Environmental Quality Incentives Program amendment that removes the unfair restriction on organic farmers who are trying to protect our air, soil, and water resources
The other 5 I support help limit corporate control over our food system:
- SA 969, introduced by Senator Grassley, will help level the playing field between independent livestock producers and the large corporate packers and processors by setting up a USDA office to ensure fair competition
- Rockefeller’s amendment that protects farmers who actually speak up about abusive practices.
- Tester’s Seeds & Breeds amendment that will provide public research dollars to develop and improve a diversity of publicly owned seeds for farmers
- I also support Tester’s amendment requiring an annual report on consolidation in the food and agriculture industries.
- Boxer’s GE labeling amendment requires GE labeling, and I join 93% of Americans who demand the right to know whether there are genetically modified ingredients in my food.
Finally, I want to ask the Senator to oppose four dangerous amendments that would only hurt families most in need. $4.1 billion has already been cut from nutrition assistance programs, and we can’t afford to lose any more.
Please oppose Roberts 949 & 950 that reduce benefits and training for nutrition assistance, and Thune 991 that cuts nutrition education programs. Finally, please oppose Sessions 947 that would require proof of citizenship or immigration status to get help with food – essentially discriminating against low-income rural residents and immigrants.
Thanks for taking my message!Here are some places to advocate for sustainable farming to your senators and representatives.
Some places to take action:
- Food & Water Watch
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition or here
- Food Democracy Now
- Rural Coalition
- Union of Concerned Scientists