Farm Bill to be Written in Next Two Weeks with Huge Cuts, Act Now to Help Save Essential Programs. The Farm Bill is passed only once every 5 years, and determines funding for all federal agricultural spending over that period. On Monday the Agriculture Committee leadership proposed to rewrite the food and farm bill in 2 weeks from today – yes they are proposing to do in two weeks, what usually takes a year or more of negotiations, allowing your voice to be heard. This would be the fastest food and farm bill decision-making process in history. You can find more information on this development at: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/agriculture-ltr-to-supercomm/ http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do?symbolicName=/free/agpolicy/news/template1&product=/ag/news/agpolicy/features&vendorReference=0702DA72&paneContentId=70606&paneParentId=70601 http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/66158.html And http://www.agriculture.com/news/policy/breaking-down-budget-cuts-to_4-ar19997?print Please act today for a chance you have only once 5 years to reform our food and farming system and protect essential programs from significant cuts. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. 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 including beginning farmer programs won in 2008, which are badly in need of being renewed. Please call your Senator and Congressperson TODAY to ask for more reasonable cuts to essential programs, and request that they support beginning farmer initiatives and other important farm bill programs. If the line is busy, please leave a brief message on the voicemail. You can use this link to find out who your Senators and Congressperson are, and get their phone numbers: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/. If you already know who they are, you can simply call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to them. The Message: I am a constituent, calling Senator/Congressman _____ to deliver this message (use one or more of these talking points, or develop your own):
- Please assure that beginning farmer programs are protected and fully funded in the new farm bill, so that we can promote the develop a new crop of farmers to keep American agriculture viable for the future, make sure we help to develop this essential part of the economy, and create new farm jobs.
- 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.