Have you been following what is going with the Farm Bill? It is not talked about much in the news and it is an almost a secretive process, so its hard to keep up with what is going on. Basically there is a group called the Supercommitee who have been given the job of finding places to cut the government’s budget. Cuts to the next farm bill, due out in 2012, could range from $18 billion suggested by farm-state lawmakers to $43 billion proposed by House Republicans. The decisions that they make now will be in effect for the next 5 years.
SNAP (formerly food stamps) is a program under this bill that may be subject to funding cuts. 45 million americans already rely on SNAP.
There is no public comment period. This is undemocratic!
Many in California’s agriculture community are concerned the new bill will show favoritism to commodity crops — corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice and peanuts — leaving California, largely a specialty crop state emphasizing fruits, vegetables and nuts, with fewer funds for organic farming, environmental protection and research programs.
The bill also helps determine whether agriculture respects or pollutes our air, soil and water.
Who is on this Supercommittee? These guys:
Call your Senators and Congress-people!
Here’s the US Capitol switchboard:
Why call them? Because you need to be an active voice in decisions made about your food!
“Writing the bill in secret and sneaking it into law would not only pre-empt citizen involvement and violate democratic norms,” observes In Defense of Food author Michael Pollan; “it would also squelch the prospects for reform. So now what happens to an important proposal like The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, introduced by Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Sherrod Brown?” Pollan asked in an e-mail interview with The Nation. “Does it even get a hearing? The writing of agricultural policy in America has never been a shining example of democracy at work; now, it threatens to devolve into a travesty.”