Posted by Dave on November 17, 2010
Critical Vote: Tell your Senators to support the Tester-Hagan amendment - Vote YES for family farmers!
The Senate just voted 74 Yes to 25 No in favor of the cloture vote. This means that S.510, aka The Food Modernization Act, will move forward in the Senate for a vote by the end of the week, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Even as the debate continues on the Senate floor, the forces of Big Ag are working behind the scenes to kill the Tester-Hagan Amendment and all provisions meant to protect small farmers.
Yesterday we sent out an alert asking that you call your Senators to tell them vote for the 2 critical amendments needed to protect family farmers in this new food safety bill.
Incredibly more than 3,000 Food Democracy Now! members made calls to their Senators in all 50 states in less than 24 hours along with thousands of calls from other groups across the country.
Despite this heroic effort, we're hearing that some Senators still have not made up their minds or even worse, some are waffling in their support for the Tester-Hagan and Manager's Amendments, which will help protect farmers who sell their produce or goods locally to farmers markets, customers, stores and restaurants from excessive regulations that could harm their ability to compete and even survive. Clearly our work is not yet done.
As early as tomorrow the Senate could vote on the food safety bill and FARMERS NEED the Tester-Hagan and Manager's Amendments to be included to protect them from harmful regulations.
Pollan and Schlosser weigh in
The recognition of how important the passage of the Tester-Hagan Amendment is has brought out 2 of the biggest voices in the sustainable food movement to lend their support for family farmers.
Yesterday food experts and authors Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser released a statement urging swift action in passing the food safety bill and the Tester Amendment:
"S.510 is the most important food safety bill in a generation. The Tester amendment will make it even more effective, helping to ensure food safety while protecting small farmers and producers. We both think this is the right thing to do," said Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.
After years of following these issues, meeting with hundreds of farmers and victims of food safety outbreaks, both Pollan and Schlosser are convinced that these important provisions are needed to improve food safety and protect family farmers.
Please join them in asking your Senators to vote Yes for family farmers and the Tester Amendment!
When you click, we'll provide your Senators' contact information and a way to tell us how your call went. That way we can track our campaign's progress.
We're hearing from our members, especially in California and New York, that callers are having trouble connecting with their Senate offices. We regret that. But know that the delays are because the offices are overloaded with calls from us and others. Please take the extra time to get your call connected. We can't let up at this critical moment. A big "Thank you" to you of all who hung in there yesterday to get through to your Senators - your diligence is needed and making a difference!
Montana Senator John Tester, the only organic farmer in the Senate, believes that without his amendment, the food safety bill could seriously harm family farmers.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Senator Tester said, "It's going to put a nail in the coffin of our family food producers."
Clearly there's concern at the highest level of how this bill will affect farmers and we need your help in making sure provisions are passed that protect small-scale farm producers.
FARMERS NEED YOUR HELP TODAY TO MAKE SURE THESE AMENDMENTS ARE INCLUDED. Call your Senator now!
If the food safety bill passes without the Tester-Hagan and Manager's Amendments there will be no guaranteed protections for family farmers who sell locally to farmers markets, customers, stores or restaurants and the most vibrant segment of agriculture could face severe restrictions from the FDA.
If you care about family farmers YOU need to act today.
If you care about the local food movement, this could be your last chance to act to make sure these important provisions guaranteeing protections for small farmers are written into law.
Please call your Senators today and tell us how the call went. Make sure the staffer tells you how your Senator plans to vote on the Tester-Hagan and Manger's Amendments. As a constituent, you have a right to know!
Once again, thank you for participating in food democracy today - Our nation is only as strong as those who participate in the democratic process.
Today's action is exactly why Food Democracy Now! exists. Without the collective voices of hundreds of thousands of activists who care deeply and want to fight hard for real food democracy, the corporate voices would run the table in Washington. Little by little, call by call, we are turning the tide.
- Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team