This is urgent and unprecedented territory.
Last week we sent you an email alert warning of the imminent announcement of the "Secret Farm Bill" which has been hatched behind closed doors by only 4 members of Congress and Big Ag lobbyists. The deal was supposed to be announced last Tuesday, Nov. 1st, but more than 27,000 phone calls from Food Democracy Now! members helped slow that process down.
Regretfully we have to inform you that multiple sources in DC have confirmed that a final deal has been brokered between the 4 members of House and Senate Agriculture committee leadership and that deal will be announced soon - as early as today.
For those that care about healthy food, family farmers and the environment, this is devastating news is a sign of how broken our democracy is in Washington.
While final details of the deal have not been announced, massive cuts to conservation and nutrition programs are on the table. Sources are expecting that a new subsidy program may be announced that won't tie direct payments to farmers to conservation mandates as it is now. Instead, this new program being proposed could put more tax dollars in the hands of insurance companies like Farm Bureau. These proposed cuts, without input from other members of Congress, farmers and the American people fundamentally weaken the health and safety of food system, our farmland, environment and our democracy.
Please take a moment to call those members of Congress today to let them know that you do not agree with this blantantly unfair and undemocratic process before it's too late -- and then ask at least 2 friends today to do the same.
If you made calls last week, we're asking you to make them again. It's vital that they hear from as many people as possible today. We recognize that calls are not easy to make, but this is an urgent issue and we need your voice to be heard.
Let Congress know that you fundamentally disagree with legislation being hatched behind closed doors with agribusiness lobbyists. By agreeing to this Secret Farm Bill, these 4 House and Senate Ag leaders are essentially killing any opportunities for vital reforms that will protect family farmers, the environment and improving healthy food opportunities for all Americans.
If corporate greed gets its way, family farmers and food reformers will possibly be locked out of the conversation on reforming food and farming policy until 2017. It’s no wonder people are marching in the streets!
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.
If you think the ghouls of Halloween served up a frightening brew last week, wait until these members of Congress write your Food and Farm Bill behind Closed Doors!
The Four Horsemen of the Farm Bill Apocalypse
House Agriculture Committee:
1. Frank Lucas (R-OK) Current Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
Lucas is so in the tank for industrial agriculture that earlier this year he proposed a hearing on the “over-regulation of agricultural biotechnology”.
Not surprisingly, during the 2009-2010 election cycle, Lucas received more than $317,000 from agribusiness interests, including $16,000 from Monsanto and $15,000 from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. What do you think they want now?
2. Collin Peterson (D-MN) Former Chair of the House Agriculture Committee
Peterson is widely known as “Cargill” Peterson for his love of defending industrial agriculture and has taken millions of dollars from agribusiness firms during his career; including $19,999 from Monsanto and $21,750 from the American Farm Bureau during the 2010 election cycle.
Senate Agriculture Committee:
3. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
Rumors point to Stabenow as leading the push for the “Secret Farm Bill” because she doesn’t want to have to deal with crafting this complicated piece of federal legislation during an election year.
If you think Stabenow’s willingness to throw out real reform of U.S. food policy because she doesn’t want the “headache” during an election season, consider the fact that during the 2012 election cycle, from 2007 to now, Stabenow has pocketed more that $483,000 in agribusiness PAC and individual donations and is currently the top recipient of Agricultural Services & Products donations. Priceless!
Kind of gives new meaning to the term, “Perks of the Senate”.
4. Pat Roberts (R-KS) Senate Agriculture Committee – Ranking Member
Roberts is a known industrial ag favorite, that during the 2009 Senate confirmation hearing of Secretary Vilsack he went so far as to draw an outrageous picture of organic farmers as GQ reading porch sitters. If that weren’t bad enough, Roberts has already grabbed more than $706,000 in agribusiness cash for the 2012 election cycle, including political donations from the National Corn Growers Association, DuPont, Pfizer and Syngenta.
Click here if you want to tell these congressional leaders that they work for the American people and that you want to end the collusion between corporate greed and Congressional misdeeds. Tell Congress to Kill the Secret Farm Bill today!
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."Farm bill runs into 11th-hour opposition", San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2011
2. "Keith Good Farm Policy: Farm Bill Deal Offered to Super Committee", FarmPolicy.com, October 17, 2011
3. "Quick and dirty: Congress may rewrite the Farm Bill in two weeks", Grist, October 24, 2011
4. "Representative Frank D. Lucas 2009-2010, Sectors, 200-2010", OpenSecrets.org
5. “Representative Frank D. Lucas 2009 – 2010, Top 20 Contributors,” OpenSecrets.org
6. “Hearing to review the causes and consequences of government over-regulation of agricultural biotechnology”, House Committee on Agriculture, August 4, 2011
7. “Representative Collin C. Peterson 2009 – 2010, Top 20 Contributors”, OpenSecrets.org
8. "Senator Deborah Ann Stabenow 2007 - 2012 Top Industries", OpenSecrets.org
9. "Senator Pat Roberts 2007-2012, Top Industries", OpenSecrets.org
10. "Show Senator Pat Roberts that small farmers aren't little GQ-reading dilettantes", January 14, 200, Ethicurean