The Farm Bill is an important opportunity to develop policies that can help deliver healthful, affordable regional food to our nation's schools, and the current bill expires on September 30. The Senate has passed their version of the Farm Bill, and the House Agriculture Committee has passed one as well. Meanwhile, across the nation, farmers' livelihoods are withering in an intense, record-breaking drought.
Congress could be doing something about this right now -- they could be passing the 2012 Farm Bill, which funds critical disaster assistance programs that are our farmers' and ranchers' safety net in times like these.
But are they working to pass the 2012 Farm Bill? No. Instead, late last week, in a surprise move, the majority leadership of the House of Representatives moved to extend parts of the 2008 Farm Bill through next year, including drought assistance but excluding important, successful programs like the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, which can help bring locally produced food to schools.
This isn't a good-faith effort to help farmers. It's a dirty, cynical trick. It uses the real need for disaster assistance as an excuse to attack all sorts of important programs and kick the Farm Bill can down the road until next year.
This extension would:
- Make deep, unnecessary cuts to conservation programs -- the very farm programs that reduce drought impacts.
- Strip all funding from dozens of programs that support beginning farmers, rural communities, and food entrepreneurs.
The House is set to vote on this sham extension tomorrow. There's no reason for this -- there's a draft 2012 Farm Bill ready and waiting in the wings. The House is instead choosing to play politics at the expense of taxpayers, farmers, and the environment.
Please take action by clicking on the links below, provided by our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition:
Help us tell the House: We don't need an extension -- we need a better farm bill! Call and write your Representative today!
Organizations are also encouraged to sign on to a letter being sent to members of Congress. Deadline is 5:00 PM EDT TODAY!
THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION!
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