There's something for everybody - GMO labeling, "Monsanto Protection Act", conservation programs, funding for local food and beginning farmers, nutrition assistance, and more. [Image courtesy of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition]
There's a tremendous amount at stake for farmers and food eaters.
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To kick things off, here’s our brief summary of the recent legislative action (we’ll leave the detailed analysis to the experts below):
Both Senate and House Ag Committees adopted their own version of a 2013 Farm Bill respectively, and there are some big differences. Last week, the Senate considered their version on the Floor, but only made it through 12 of 200 amendments. Now, the Legislature is in recess until June 3rd.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has an excellent infographic on how a new Farm Bill gets passed.
- For a little sarcastic humor and word play with your analysis, check out this piece Undead farm bill: Everyone’s favorite legislative zombie shuffles on by Tom Laskaway
- Food and Water Watch blogs regularly about the Farm Bill's progress and the amendments related to sustainable agriculture, food safety, and nutrition assistance. Check out Farm Bill Update: “Possible Votes Later” by Patty Lovera. For more background info, check out their 23-page report Farm Bill 101.
- The 50-Year Farm Bill proposed by Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, and Fred Kirschenmann is a few years old now, but helps us see the bigger picture. Wendell Berry wrote this piece about their vision for the The Atlantic last November.
Track the progress of specific amendments:
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition keeps a handy list of the amendments important to them
Farm Bill Primer has a tool to help you track any amendment your heart desires
You can help Congress make the right decision, but they need to hear from you! These organizations are making it easy for you to contact your Legislators about the amendments you care about:
- Action alert from Food and Water Watch
- Action alert from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- National Young Farmers Coalition: Support the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act
- Rural Advancement Foundation International: Support classical breeding programs
- Environmental Working Group: Label genetically engineered foods!
- Center for Food Safety: Tell the Senate to REPEAL the "Monsanto Protection Act" in the Farm Bill
**June 5th update:
- Farm Bills by the Numbers. In this blog post, the folks over at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition make it easy to compare spending in the House and Senate bills. We highly recommend it!
- Marion Nestle regularly posts about the Farm Bill on her blog from her perspective as a nutritionist and public health expert.
More action alerts!
- Union of Concerned Scientists: Support the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (H.R. 1414)
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association & Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture: Tell Senate - Fix Food Safety Rules Now!
*Have resources to add? Leave a comment below!*