The following was given to us by the “Farm Bill lady,” Katherine Schwartz, who asked us to post:
The Farm Bill is a huge ($970 billion allocated in 2008) and hugely important piece of legislation being drafted in Congress right now! We all need to make our voices heard about this legislation as it controls everything we eat, and in some cases, whether we eat at all! The biggest program the Farm Bill funds is the Food Stamp Program or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). It has been proposed that $33.7 billion be cut from the SNAP program, even when the number of people on Food Stamps has increased by 20 million since 2006!
Our Senators, Gillibrand and Schumer are fighting against those cuts. Call or write them to thank them and encourage them to keep up the fight!
Kirsten Gillibrand – (202) 224-4451, http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
Chuck Schumer – (202) 224-6542, http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm
While you’re at it, there are many other vitally important components of the Farm Bill. Choose those that seem most important to you from the ones listed below or research on your own the many other components of the bill and bring them up in your e-mails or calls, too.
- They should support the Cardin amendment that would tie conservation compliance requirements to crop insurance eligibility to make sure farmers respect the land they (and we all) rely on for our food
- They should support Senator Coburn’s amendment to limit crop insurance premium subsidies to farmers with an average adjusted gross income of $750,000, saving $1.2 billion and direct some of that money into insurance for smaller farmers, such as organic farmers and fruit and vegetable farmers (Currently, nearly all subsidies for farmers go to the huge industrial farms and virtually none go to smaller farmers, such as those who grow fruits and vegetables.)
- They should fight for funding for existing farmers’ markets and SNAP EBT point of sale devices for farmers markets, farm stands, and green carts to improve access and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- They should work to increase mandatory funding for Community Food Projects to improve nutrition and food security among low-income individuals and communities.
- They should protect the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which ensures low-income elementary students have a fresh fruit or vegetable snack in school every day.
- They should support Senator Harkin’s amendment to allocate funding for microloans for beginner farmers and veterans in starting up new farms They should support Senator Sanders’ amendment to allow states to require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such
- They should fight against subsidies to produce ethanol from corn. Currently we use 1/3 of our corn crop to feed our cars and not our people!