Updated June 19, 2013
Every five years, the U.S. Congress allocates nearly a trillion dollars in food stamp (SNAP) spending and agribusiness subsidies through the massive “Farm Bill.”
Today, you have an opportunity to impact where all that money goes.
Do you want to stop your tax dollars from subsidizing factory farms and genetically engineered high fructose corn syrup? Do you want to see local, organic farmers and natural foods have a fighting chance in the marketplace?
The U.S. Senate completed its version of the nearly $1 trillion Farm Bill, and now the U.S. House is working on its own version. If things go as anticipated, then after the House passes something, the two sides will iron out their differences and present a final resolution to the President.
The U.S. House is debating amendments to the draft Farm Bill this week. It’s a complicated and bureaucratic process, and predictably, all of the lobbyists for Monsanto and big agribusiness are out in full force.
The current draft being debated by the House would expand unlimited crop insurance subsidies for large profitable farms and insurance companies while making deep and needless cuts to nutrition and conservation programs.
The good news is that there is still time to make it better. Several amendments will be offered that will improve the current bill. One conservation reform amendment will end subsidies for factory farms and provide more support for sustainable agriculture practices. Another will limit subsidy payments for large farms and insurance companies.
If you care about this issue, the most potent time take action is RIGHT NOW. Tell your member of Congress to oppose the current version of the farm bill and amend it to make it better.
But if you are from the United States, there is one simple action you can take today, that will have a big impact.
Call your Representative’s office. Tell them that you are a constituent and you want them to support three amendments that are currently up for discussion in the U.S. House.
Speak Out: Call Now
Find your representative’s name and number here. Or if you already know their name, you can just call them at the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the House office you request.
Here’s what you can say: “I am (your name), a constituent of Representative (their last name). I would like to leave a message for the ag staffer regarding two amendments to the farm bill that I urge Representative (their last name) to support.
I urge support for the Blumenauer no cost EQIP reform amendment #74 and the Kind-Petri Crop Insurance Amendment #149. These bills combined can save more than $9 billion and they will greatly improve the current farm bill. Thank you.”
It’s simple and takes less than 5 minutes. Please spread the word!!
There’s a lot more at stake in the Farm Bill, including support for organic agriculture, investments in local and sustainable food systems, critical conservation efforts that help farmers protect out air, soil, and water, and dozens of other amendments. If you want to take further action, go to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s continually updated “take action” page and sign up for action alerts, by clicking here.
Want More Info? Here Is Some Background
1) The Blumenauer no cost EQIP reform amendment # 74 eliminates subsidies to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for the purpose of constructing animal waste management facilities or other associated waste transport/transfer devices and provides financial support and technical assistance to help livestock producers reduce their use of non-therapeutic antibiotics. It also provides greater support for farmers using fewer pesticides and transitioning to organic farming practices.
2) The Kind-Petri Crop Insurance Reform Amendment #149 limits supplemental crop insurance subsidies (over basic coverage) to those producers with an adjusted gross income under $250,000 (that is, the biggest and wealthiest farms); it limits per person premium subsidies to $50,000, and it reduces subsidies to crop insurance companies. It can save taxpayers more than $9 billion.
Calls are the most effective method of outreach right now. But emails help too! To send an email to your Representative, click here now.
The impact of the choices made in Washington this week will have profound impact on millions of lives.
Working together, we can help to shift the course of history.
Thanks to Kari Hamerschlag at Environmental Working Group for helping us draft this message.