Posted by Dave on November 18, 2011
For the past month rumors about the Secret Farm Bill have been slowly leaking out and now it's gotten ugly. Last night Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told Politico that an agreement over the secret farm bill budget negotiations had been reached and we understand the details will be announced within the next few hours. Like many of you, we fundamentally disagree with secretive, backroom deals being cut in Washington DC between members of Congress and agribusiness lobbyists. This recent development is only another sign of how broken our democratic process is and how out of touch our elected officials are with the real needs and desires of the American people.
As we and others have reported before, once these negotiations go to the Super Committee, not only can they be further "negotiated" but their approval by the deficit reduction committee process will render the 2012 Farm Bill process null and void, i.e. there will be no 2012 Farm Bill with public hearings or input, which means that family farmers and reformers will be shut out until 2017, when the next Farm Bill may come up for reauthorization.
If you eat, you ought to be outraged, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!
Not only have only 4 members of Congress locked themselves behind closed doors with the self-imposed mission of circumventing the normally open and transparent Farm Bill process, but news of their budget “priorities” in this process are alarming farmers and eaters everywhere.
Already 24,532 Food Democracy Now! members have made over 50,000 phone calls to the House and Senate leadership responsible for the corrupt process now known as the Secret Farm Bill. Today we need your help more than ever.
Click here to let Congress know that you oppose the corrupt Secret Farm Bill process. If you want to have healthy, sustainable and organic food in the years to come, please make a call today. Please remind them that an open and transparent Farm Bill process is important to you.
As you know, the House and Senate ag committee leadership have taken it upon themselves to carve out some $23 billion in cuts to U.S. food and agricultural programs over the next 10 years in an effort to meet the artificial target of $1.2 trillion in budget cuts set by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the Super Committee.
As has been widely reported, the House and Senate Ag leadership has agreed to cut some $15 billion from the subsidy programs, $6 billion from conservation and an estimated $4 billion from nutrition such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), also known as food stamps.
While reports of the end of direct payments in subsidies to farmers have been received as welcome progress, the new “safety net” program being put forward to replace them is a new revenue-based “shallow loss” insurance program could be even more of a boondoggle for taxpayers and the environment.
At the same time, gutting vital nutrition programs in an era of record unemployed and increasing economic uncertainty seems corrupt and shortsighted. Earlier this month, the USDA released new data that showed that Americans are struggling now more than ever, with a record 45.8 million Americans in August receiving nutritional assistance funds (food stamps) as unemployment remained at 9.1 percent nationwide.
Farmers and the American people deserve an open and transparent process on these vital issues, not another set of behind closed-door deals with giant corporate lobbyists! It’s time put an end to corruption in Washington. Don’t let agribusiness write the next Farm Bill under cover of darkness.
It’s time to put America’s farmers and citizens over agribusiness profits. Please take 30 seconds to call the House and Senate Ag leadership and tell them that you oppose any backdoor deals on the Secret Farm Bill.
Click here to make a call to kill the “Secret Farm Bill”. We need your voice today - now more than ever. If you support local family farmers and sustainable agriculture for our future, please join this call to action.
We are committed to this fight now, more than ever - please join us. Together, our voices will create the future we hope for.
Thanks for being a part of the solution and participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team
1. "Rare deal: $182B approps bill passes", Politico, November 17, 2011
2. “Farm bill: Corn Belt vs. Great Plains Dems” Politico, November 16, 2011
3. "Secrecy is not the way to craft the new federal farm bill", Des Moines Register, November 16, 2011
4. “Just a Sliver of Budget-Cutting Anger”, DTN The Progressive Farmer, November 16, 2011
5. "Secret Farm Bill Goes from Bad to Medieval" Environmental Working Group, November 16, 2011
6. “The Secret Farm Bill”, New York Times, November 8, 2011