Posted by Dave on June 7, 2012
Right now there’s an important battle unfolding in Washington DC and with your help, Food Democracy Now! and our allies could provide the deciding vote. For the next few weeks, the 2012 Food and Farm Bill will be hotly debated on the Senate floor and your Senators need to hear from you today!
Last fall, the process of an open and honest debate on the Farm Bill was nearly stolen, when certain members of Congress met behind closed doors to try to pass a Secret Farm Bill. But Food Demcoracy Now! members like you helped tip the scale to stop it!
Once again, farmers and eaters across the U.S. need your help to stand up for them today!
We’re asking you and your friends to make a call your Senators today to guarantee that the reforms that you care about most survive in what is the single most important piece of legislation that determines what Americans, and many people around the world, eat on a daily basis. Now Change is just one phone call away!
Already family farmers and our allies have won some important reforms, including the end of direct payments to the largest commodity farms. Unfortunately, agribusiness lobbyists have been busy larding the new Food and Farm Bill with more subsidies that could harm family farmers and the environment once again, while costing taxpayers billions more in wasted payments to the wealthiest farmers and crop insurance companies.
Even worse, the Senate Ag committee has proposed cutting important nutrition programs that provide an important safety net for the neediest among us and gutted vital conservation programs that protect our soil, land and environment for future generations.
The future of America’s family farmers and the health of our food supply and environment is up to you! Please get involved in helping convert these important amendments into positive votes on the Senate floor and ultimately, making history to support a healthier, more sustainable food system.
Farmers and eaters across the U.S. need you now, more than ever!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team
More on the Food and Farm Bill Debate:
The centerpiece of the new Food and Farm Bill relies on the creation of a rapidly expanded insurance subsidy program, that while well-intended, includes gaping loopholes created by agribusiness lobbyists that leave taxpayers on the hook for billions when crops fail, enriching the wealthiest farmers and crop insurance companies. Help us close the new uncapped, untargeted insurance subsidy program today!
End the Millionaire Insurance Bailout
Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Durbin (D-IL) are introducing an important amendment that will limit insurance subsidies for the wealthiest farmers. With the newly expanded insurance subsidy program set to replace direct payments, there are currently no limits on the amount of insurance subsidies that the largest, most profitable farms can receive and the Coburn-Durbin amendment places a cap on subsidized insurance pay outs.
A recent analysis of the federal crop insurance payments found that 26 farming operations received over $1 million or more last year alone. With one Minnesota corn and soybean farm receiving more than $1.7 million in federal crop insurance subsidies.
In 2011, USDA records show that crop insurance programs cost U.S. taxpayers more than staggering $11 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Coburn-Durbin amendment would save more than $1.3 billion dollars over the next ten years.
Support the Soil & Wetland Protection Act
Senator Cardin (D-MD) is introducing an amendment that reattaches basic conservation compliance to farmers receiving subsidized federal crop insurance as it was until 1996.
As the current Food and Farm Bill draft stands, farmers will receive crop insurance subsidies but not be required to comply with vital conservation programs that protect highly erodible land and endangered wetlands. But Congress needs to link crop insurance payments to conservation compliance, just like they did with farmers receiving direct payments, otherwise this will be a disaster for the environment.
The Cardin amendment wisely closes this loophole and offers important incentives to protect our nation’s soil, wetlands and environment for future generations.
Healthy Food Amendment
Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced an amendment that will limit the amount of federal subsidy payments to crop insurance companies and restore the drastic cuts to vital nutrition programs, redirecting $500 million dollars to healthy food programs.
As the Farm Bill is currently written, it gives away billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to corporate mega-farms, while slashing food stamps and neglecting healthy food programs. Sen. Gillibrand's amendment will cut these outrageous crop insurance subsidies, limiting the amount of taxpayer money that private crop insurance companies could receive to cover arbitrary “administrative and operating costs”, which would save the American public billions of dollars over the next decade.
The 2012 Food and Farm Bill should be about creating health food for America’s citizens, providing safety nets for family farmers and protecting our soil, land and environment for the future, not larding agribusiness and corporate lobbyists with billions in government handouts.