Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Durbin-Coburn amendment, which calls for a reduction in crop insurance subsidies to the biggest corporate farms.
Thanks in part to all the constituents who spoke up to support the Durbin-Coburn amendment (including thousands of Food Revolution Network members!), it passed the full Senate by a 2-1 margin. Assuming this survives into the final bill, it will save taxpayers more than a billion dollars over the coming decade. This is a victory for taxpayers, family farms, and the environment.
And there’s more to do. In the weeks to come, the Senate will consider a host of amendments on issues that matter to you and me – including blocking GMO salmon and investing in better access to fresh, healthy food for everyone.
Things have been moving fast with the Farm Bill in the last few days, as the U.S. Senate considers many dozens of amendments to the bill before it will vote on the whole package some time in the coming weeks. The U.S. House of Representatives is also at work on its own version, and the two bodies will ultimately reconcile these two versions into a final bill that is likely to become law this year.
It’s a complex enough process that many citizens don’t engage with it at all. But it matters, and matters a great deal. Nearly a trillion dollars, and the future of food systems in America, are on the line.
There’s a saying that all that it takes for the forces of evil to triumph, is for the forces of good to do nothing. If you want to be a force for good in the world of food policy, this is a great time to take action.
If you’re from the United States, you can call your two Senators on the Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121. (For help finding out who your Senators are, click here).
Here’s a suggested mini script to make it easier:
“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter. I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer. Can you take a message for me, please? The message is: I urge the Senator to support the following amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill.”
You can mention as many or as few of the amendments as you like. Some of my favorites are:
• Begich Amendment #934, to ban GMO salmon until further consultation (For more on the enormous dangers posed by GE salmon, check out my blog post on the topic.)
• Boxer Amendment #1025 to declare a “sense of the Senate” that Genetically Engineered foods should be labeled. (Thanks to the nearly 10,000 Food Revolution Network members who have signed a petition supporting this amendment. If you haven’t signed it yet, you can do so here).
• Brown Amendment #1088 to improve access to local, healthy and organic food by directly helping farmers and communities put solutions into action on the ground. (For more on Senator Brown’s amendment, click here.)
• Shaheen-Toomey Amendment #926: Limit Crop Insurance Payments for Large Corporate Farms. (For more on this and the bigger picture of the Farm Bill, check out my recent article in the Huffington Post).
To sign up for breaking news and Farm Bill action alerts from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, click here.
We won an important victory yesterday. Let’s keep the momentum going! Every step counts.