Who Cares?

Many organizations have an interest in the farm bill. Most organizations focus on just a few areas in the farm bill. We’ll feature highlights of that work here.
If you would like your organization to be added to this page, write to mroswell at gmail.com, including guidelines for what you think should be included

The Environmental Working Group maintains a subsidy database. They also offer a helpful page describing Why the Farm Bill Matters. Here are the key points from that page:

  • Protect food assistance programs for the neediest, especially in the lingering aftermath of the 2008 recession.
  • Improve and expand programs that increase access to healthy foods, strengthen local and regional food systems and provide new markets for diversified, local, sustainable and organic growers and ranchers.
  • Shift a large chunk of the farm subsidy dollars  to conservation programs. This would help fund programs that protect soil, water and air quality, preserve wildlife habitat and conserve energy and water.
  • Reform crop insurance – which has ballooned into another lavish subsidy for producers.
  • Support energy provisions that encourage truly sustainable biofuels and biomass energy alternatives, not heavily subsidized, inefficient and environmentally damaging corn ethanol.

The 2012 legislation needs to shift American food and farm policy toward paying farmers to protect water and soil, providing incentives for crop diversity and creating a level playing field for all farmers.

Food and Water Watch is advocating for a Fair Farm Bill. They produced a document called Farm Bill 101. They also have a video, and a petition. Petition text:
Our current food system is broken, and it didn’t happen by accident. It’s time for a new farm bill that creates a healthy food system. Please support these actions in the next farm bill:

  • Level the playing field for farmers
  • Make markets fair for farmers and consumers
  • Ensure food security by restoring the grain reserve
  • Make healthy food accessible for all people
  • Rebuild local infrastructure for regional food systems
  • Make smart government food purchases
  • Support new sustainable farming programs
  • Promote environmental stewardship
  • Require full safety reviews and labeling of GE foods
  • Stop subsidizing factory farms and dangerous technologies

Head over to the petition page to sign on this.

The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) offers a “Side by Side” Tool to compare the 2008 farm bill with the previous bill.

FRAC, the Food Research and Action Center aims to end childhood hunger by 2015. FRAC offers key strategies, including strengthening SNAP in the Farm Bill. Their Legislative Action Center offers details.

Blogger and Author Jill Richardson says we should “Forget the Farm Bill.” She notes that, ” In the 2012 election cycle, members of the House Ag committee have collectively taken in $3.7 million in contributions from agribusiness.” (She’s right that we would do well to elect folks who care more about sustainable agriculture. But “Forgetting” the farm bill? I’m not ready to do that. I want to ENGAGE in the Farm Bill!)

Tim Philpott, in a piece in Mother Jones, notes we’ll probably have the worst farm bill ever

The American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Offers a petition for a Just Farm Bill.

The American Farmland Trust offers a whole website devoted to the farm bill: http://www.farmbillfacts.org/

Oxfam offers a video and a petition, pushing for reforms to food aid programs in the Farm Bill. They also offer this sample tweet: .@SenateAg @HouseAgNews, #FoodGames are costing lives. Reforming US food aid in the #FarmBill would save 17 million! http://oxf.am/oHD
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition published a book in March 2012 called Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food and Farm Bill. Their online Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill is still also an informative resource. Follow the “2012 Farm Bill” tag on their blog for up-to-the-minute detailed information
Public Health Law & Policy (PHLP) also offers a Farm Bill primer. They call it Growing Change: A Farm Bill Primer for Communities. PHLP notes that the Farm bill has a profound impact on public health, ultimately determining the types of food we eat and how much it costs. Christine Fry’s piece in the Hill’s Congressional Blog offers a brief, interesting take on the Food Stamp debate. She and Heather Wooten coauthored a journal article in The April 2012 APA Planning & Environmental Law , that offers further perspective. Request a copy from cfry@phlpnet.org, or check out the preview link available here.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has a new series: What’s at Stake in the 2012 Farm Bill? The series includes brief discussions of local foods, crop insurance, and disadvantaged farmers. Healthy Food Action, a project of IATP, asks us to take action: to ask our Senators and Representative to co-sponsor the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act. The Healthy Farms Healthy People Coalition maintains a blog including a Farm Bill 2012 category.

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future produced the Farm Bill Budget Visualizer. They offer an accompanying methods page, and a resource page. Their special report is essential reading: Growing Healthy Food and Farm Policy: The Impact of Farm Bill Policies on Public Health. The Hopkins School of Public Health also offers a vetted set of farm bill resources at the Agriculture and Public Health Gateway.
Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill page, including markup and amendments by title.

The California Food and Justice Coalition provides support for the GOAT (Getting Our Act Together) and Healthy Farms, Healthy People coalitions, and more recently, a Kellogg Foundation funded Equity First policy cluster.

The Union of Concerned Scientists produced the Policy Priorities for a Healthy Food and Farm Bill. They offer an accompanying infographic showing how U.S. farmers could grow the healthy fruits and vegetables we need while creating jobs.
Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill page, including markup and amendments by title

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