It’s now or never for the 2012 Farm Bill – speak out today!
As of this month, our nation’s food and farm policy in the form of the 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired, with no workable replacement moving forward in Congress. This has left critical programs high and dry with no funding – and means Congress dodged the chance to make real reforms and an investment in an equitable, sustainable future for food and farms in America.
With no new farm bill or extension, the programs that address rural and urban job creation, training opportunities for beginning farmers, natural resource conservation, and access to healthy food are in big trouble.
Can Congress still finish a farm bill this year? YES!
There is a short window of time for Congress to finish the bill when they return to DC after Election Day. So when Congress returns to the Hill, we’ll need YOU and other farmers and advocates across the country to tell them loud and clear: we need an equitable, sustainable 2012 Farm Bill!
CAFF has launched a major grassroots effort in collaboration with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and allies across the nation to make our voices heard. Sign onto the citizens’ petition today – and mark your calendar for a national day of action on November 15!
Sign your name and tell Congress we need a 2012 Farm Bill that:
Invests in the future of healthy farms, food, and people
Protects our precious air, soil, and water
Reforms farm subsidies and levels the playing field.
Where are we now in this Farm Bill process? The Senate passed a 5-year Farm Bill. Then the House Agriculture Committee passed its own 5-year Farm Bill. However, the House leadership has refused to hold a vote on the House Farm Bill. Instead, they passed a stand-alone disaster assistance bill on August 2, to address the effects of the drought. The Senate then refused to pass a stand-alone disaster assistance bill because that was already in their comprehensive Farm Bill. And with that impasse, Congress adjourned for summer vacation. Stay tuned for September, when this impasse will be revisited, since the current Farm Bill expires on September 30.
CAFF in the early stages of this process supported two marker bills, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, which sought to expand support for local food systems, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act, which sought to expand programs for beginning farmers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has prepared a couple of tables that assess the inclusion of these proposals in the House and Senate Farm Bills. The local food proposals are summarized in this blog post:
and the beginning farmer proposals are summarized in this one:
The results of this legislative process are discussed at length on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s web site:
CAFF has supported the development of a platform for the Farm Bill at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
CAFF works with 10 other organizations in California that are also members of NSAC and we are all supporting the NSAC platform.
Other Recent Commentary on the Farm Bill
National Farmers Union:
Senate Passes 2012 Farm Bill 6-21-2012
Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/agmag/category/food/
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201207/2012-farm-bill-congress-abandons-farmers-for-agribusiness
Books and Articles about the Farm Bill
Dan Imhoff, Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media, 2012
Michael Pollan, Omnivore’s Dilemma, Penguin, 2007
Turning the Farm Bill into the Food Bill, TEDxManhattan presentation by Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group
“How farm bill can help our Valley,” OpEd piece by John Teixeira and Steve Koretoff in the Fresno Bee 5-24-2012
Last Updated: 10-24-12