Raise a glass, the farm bill passed!

March 5, 2014 - 6:01 pm No Comments

We have a new farm bill! Come learn what’s in it and what the Northwest Farm Bill Action Group will be up to this year at our Farm Bill Happy Hour!

This event will replace our Winter General Meeting.

WHAT: Farm Bill Happy Hour – a casual event to catch up on farm bill policy, plug into the Northwest Farm Bill Action Group, meet like-minded folks, and sip tasty drinks (for $1 off!)

WHEN: Saturday, March 8, 5-6 pm

WHERE:
in the University District
1309 NE 45th St

Trabant (NWFBAG’s unofficial office) serves beer and hard cider in addition to exceptional coffee, tea, and snacks, and is “all-ages”. Many thanks, Trabant, for offering us a special happy hour deal for this event!

RSVP: Tell us you’re coming on Facebook or by emailing our coordinator, Ariana at ataylorstanley@wsffn.org

See you there!

We have a Farm Bill, folks!

February 5, 2014 - 9:30 pm No Comments

Congress has passed a Farm Bill at last!

On the way to the House farm bill vote: Ariana Taylor-Stanley (NWFBAG/Tilth Producers of WA), Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Ellen Gray (Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network), and Sam Bowhay (NWFBAG/Local Roots Farm)

Northwest Farm Bill Action Group organizers were in DC this last week participating in coalition meetings and lobby visits, and were lucky enough to witness the House vote. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

The bill passed has many wins for local food and sustainable agriculture including an expanded Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, support for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, and many beginning farmer programs. However, it also cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) by $8 billion over the next ten years. The final bill also failed to include important commodity subsidy payment limit reforms that had been included in all previous versions.

It has been a long journey to get to this point! This bill began being drafted in 2011, and we have followed it closely through the congressional quagmire since then. Thank you all for staying involved and taking action! Stay tuned as we move into next steps on implementing this bill and preparing for the next one.

Learn more about the new bill from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Keep up to date on Farm Bill news on our website

Action Alert: Fair Farm Bill Now!

January 14, 2014 - 3:41 pm No Comments

An action alert from our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition:

Do you believe in fairness for farmers?

We sure do. We’re talking about common-sense basics here: ensuring independent growers have a fair crack in the marketplace against Big Ag and closing loopholes so mega-farms can’t rake in excessive subsidies that they don’t need. The time to fight for the rights of our nation’s independent producers against abuses by large corporations, and for common-sense, long overdue reforms to our nation’s commodity subsidy programs, is right now. This is our chance to make the changes that this bill desperately needs in order to work for sustainable farmers and a better food & farm future.

Your voice matters – speak out today!

There’s so much at stake right now. First, long-overdue, common-sense subsidy reforms that will save taxpayers money and were approved by bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate last year are on the chopping block in behind-the-scenes negotiations! Limiting subsidies and eliminating loopholes in the commodity programs – known as payment limitation reform – will keep mega-farms from abusing the system. It ought to be a no-brainer. And majorities in the House and Senate have already approved identical reform provisions. Yet still a handful of dedicated opponents are fighting tooth and nail to strip out the reforms.

Adding insult to injury: Big Ag is trying to push through an amendment that would strip farmers and ranchers of basic legal protections against unfair treatment at the hands of large corporations (like retaliation, where a corporation can bankrupt a farmer for raising a grievance). If Big Ag wins and USDA can’t enforce what’s known as the GIPSA rule, independent meat and poultry producers have no legal protection against outright abuse.

Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene sits on the committee that is putting the finishing touches on the Farm Bill and making decisions on these issues. Call her office now to make sure the final bill is fair and supports organic farmers.

Calling is easy!

Step 1:

Call 202.225.6311 and ask for Agriculture Staffer Ben Barasky

Step 2: Tell him:

Hi, my name is _____, and I’m a constituent and a voter calling about the farm bill. Since you are a member of  the farm bill conference committee, I ask you to:

Please oppose any amendment that strips fair market protections from independent farmers and ranchers by preventing enforcement of GIPSA rules. Growers deserve a fair shot in the marketplace and protection from abusive practices!

Please oppose any attempt to weaken or remove common-sense commodity subsidy reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill! Payment limitation reform for commodity subsidy programs was supported on a bipartisan basis last year in the House and Senate and must be included in the final bill – it saves money and limits abuse of the system!

Thank you for your time!

Northwest Farm Bill Action Group • www.nwfoodfight.org • 2011
Design based on Missed Spring theme • Rainier image courtesy of USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory