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!

Farm Bill News

December 12, 2013 - 5:36 pm No Comments
Farm Bill negotiators have officially given up on passing a Farm Bill in 2013. A bill extending the expired extension of the 2008 Farm Bill until the end of January has been filed, but may not come to a vote if the negotiating committee believes it can reach a deal early in January. Either way, the committee expects a final Farm Bill to pass in January. We hope the final bill will include support for beginning farmers, local food systems, organic farming, nutrition programs, and commodity subsidy reform.
Also, news on federal food safety policy:
We are pleased to announce that the US Department of Agriculture has terminated the process of developing a national leafy greens marketing agreement. The NLGMA, modeled off of leafy greens marketing agreements in California and Arizona, would have set up national opt-in food safety rules which wholesale buyers could choose to require farmers from whom they purchase to follow. The NLGMA was terminated due to potential overlap and conflict with FSMA. The NLGMA had threatened to discourage habitat and diversity on farms, so we are glad to see it laid to rest!
Check out news articles for these events on our News & Views page.

What a Great Pie Party!

October 30, 2013 - 3:17 pm No Comments

Thank you to everyone who was able to make the event as fun as it was. Talking about the Farm Bill and enjoying scrumptious pie made for a delightful afternoon. We also met our fundraising goal which is phenomenal!

Along with lively conversation and lovely community building, we had several opportunities for individuals to take action. Many filled out a post card telling congress “Don’t Leave Sustainable Agriculture Stranded!”; we need a new Farm Bill or extension that reforms outdated subsidies, protects natural resources, and invests in a healthier future for us all. These will be submitted to the appropriate members of congress depending on the constituent through the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The second opportunity was a personalized letter voicing an opinion on the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). We collected many very nice hand-written FSMA comments which will be sent to the Federal Department of Agriculture through the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Lastly, a very special thank you to our wonderful donors:

- Central Coop
- High 5 Pie
- nuflours
- Steel Wheel Farm
- Tonnemaker
- La Medusa
- Food From the Heart

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