Tag Archive | Farm Bill

Farm Bill Field Hearing in Michigan


Senators Stabenow, Roberts Announce Farm Bill Field Hearing in Michigan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today announced the Committee will hold its second Farm Bill field hearing of the 115th Congress in Frankenmuth, Mich. on Saturday, May 6 to begin work on the 2018 Farm Bill. Congress passes a Farm Bill only once every five years. The current Farm Bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in 2014 and expires in September 2018.

“The Farm Bill is critical to Michigan agriculture, which supports one in four jobs across our state,” said Stabenow. “Thanks to input from our farmers and stakeholders, the 2014 Farm Bill has Michigan on every page, and was signed into law here at Michigan State University. We made historic investments to support our small towns, protect our land and water, help our farmers export and sell more products locally, and end unnecessary subsidies and programs – saving taxpayers $80 billion more than we first expected. As we begin our work on the 2018 Farm Bill, I’m committed to making sure Michigan’s voice is heard again so we can continue to support our state’s farmers and families and create new jobs.”

“Listening to producer perspectives from across the country is a critical step in writing the next Farm Bill,” said Roberts. “We had a successful first field hearing in Kansas, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of listening to farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders with Senator Stabenow in Michigan.”

The hearing, entitled “Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: Perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill from Michigan,” will feature testimony from a wide variety of agricultural producers and Farm Bill stakeholders, examining agriculture, as well as conservation, rural economic development, research, forestry, energy, and nutrition policies that affect Michigan. Witnesses will be announced shortly.  All stakeholders and the general public are invited to submit testimony or comments in writing for the official Committee record (see below).

What: U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Field Hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill

Date:  Saturday, May 6, 2017

Time:  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Place:  Saginaw Valley Research & Extension Center – Michigan State University, 3775 S Reese Rd, Frankenmuth, MI

RSVP: To attend, email your name and organization (if representing a group) to MIRSVP@ag.senate.gov

Testimony: You are invited to submit testimony or comments for the official record for this field hearing in advance, but no later than May 12, 2017, either online at www.agriculture.senate.gov/farm-bill-input or by mailing it to the Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, 328A Russell Senate Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. 20510.

Live Broadcast: The hearing will be webcast live on ag.senate.gov.

OKT Food Justice Series: The Farm Bill

fair_farm_bill_tractorThis is the fourth  in a series of weekly posts highlighting OKT’s Food Justice series. You can download series handouts here for free.

We all pay for an unhealthy food system. The current food system in the United States is bad for the environment, bad for public health and primarily benefits the largest agricultural companies. This may not be news to most people, but what is less known is who pays for the current US food system.

Every few years, the US government adopts a new Farm Bill. The most recent Farm Bill, like the previous ones, provides billions of dollars to Big Ag and little to small, family run farms. The 2014 Farm Bill provides $956 Billion in taxpayer subsidies to huge corporations like Monsanto, Tyson Foods, Archer DanielsMidland, Kraft and Wal-Mart, corporations which make billions in profits annually.

So why does the US government give these corporations so much of the taxpayers’ money? These companies spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress every year and they finance political candidates running for election For example, in the 2012 election cycle, Monsanto contributed $1,209,714 to candidates. In 2013 alone, they spent nearly $7 million lobbying the US Congress. (Source: www.opensecrets.org)

In Michigan, 2012 farm subsidies provided by taxpayers totaled $263 million, with most of that money going to large farms growing mono-crops or livestock: corn
subsidies, $59 million; soybeans, $35 million; and the dairy sector, more than $22 million. (Source: http://farm.ewg.org/)

fcf9eab0-b4e1-4c3d-9671-1e2a7fa18115-large16x9_snapfoodstampcutsWhile providing huge subsidies to agribusiness, the 2014 Farm Bill cut $8.6 billion in Food Assistance. During a time when more and more Americans live in poverty and rely on government food assistance programs, Congress decided to drastically cut these funds and give more taxpayer money to large corporations.

What we need is a food system that is based on food justice, where food is a right and the government does not punish marginalized communities but provides them access to healthy, nutritious food. We need to promote and practice food sovereignty, giving
everyone a voice in deciding what kind of food system they want for their community. This is what Our Kitchen Table and Well House both promote and practice through their food growing and food justice work.










This is re-posted from Organic Bytes

The Senate Has Voted … Against GMO Labels

The vote was 26 in favor of GMO labels, 73 opposed. Click here to find out how your Senators votedMore info on this Senate vote next week!

… For Corporate Welfare for Insurance Companies, Not Food Stamps for Hungry Kids

An amendment by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, would have cut the amount paid to insurance companies to subsidize their costs in selling crop insurance. Last year, the government paid insurance companies $1.3 billion, and Ms. Gillibrand’s amendment would have reduced that amount to offset a $4.5 billion cut to the food stamp program. But the Senate rejected the amendment, 66 to 33.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action
… To Support Rural Development – the “Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act” Will Invest in Jobs, After All!

$150 million in critical funding for rural economic development and new farmer programs was restored through an amendment introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

That’s $35 million for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the keystone new farmer program at USDA; $50 million over five years for the Value-Added Producer Grants program that helps farmers transition to new markets and products that return more of the consumer food dollar back to the farmer and the local community; $15 million for the Rural Microentrepeneur Assistance Program to help start new small rural businesses; and $50 million to begin to eliminate the backlog in water and sewer projects in small rural communities.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action

… To Keep Organic Programs – Smart Move, as Organic Grows the Fastest, Creates the Most Jobs!

An amendment by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to remove all funding for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program went down on a 42-57 vote.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action
Unfortunately, the Senate leadership decided not to consider votes on amendments to…

  • Encourage more USDA-funded research on plant and animal breeding to improve health, nutrition, farm income, and food security.
  • Allow the direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products across state lines.
  • Legalize the production of industrial hemp, a potential new bumper crop for U.S. farmers.
  • Codify an agreement between egg producers and the Humane Society of the United States to increase the size of hen cages over the next 18 years and end the practice of depriving hens of food and water to increase egg production.

Learn More

ACT NOW: Farm Bill to the Senate Floor this Week!

Re-posted fron Healthy Food Action

Keep up the fight for a healthier Farm Bill, Senators need to hear from the health community as floor debate begins!

Any day now the Senate will begin floor debate of the Agriculture, Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.

In a recent national poll, 78 percent of Americans said that making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and accessible should be a top priority in the Farm Bill. Unfortunately, the current Senate version of the bill does not go far enough in achieving that goal and they need to hear from the health community before it’s too late!

Please contact your Senator today by sending the letter below and ask them to:

Resist any further cuts to conservation programs that support the clean air, water and soil in which our food is grown.

Restore funding for SNAP (current proposed cut is $4.49 billion) and support Hunger-Free Community Incentive Grants to increase purchases by SNAP customers at farmers markets and other healthy food retailers.

Vote for the Packer Ban (Grassley/Conrad amendment) to limit consolidation in the meat industry

Support farm to school initiatives that would make the purchasing of local foods easier.

Increase funding for the Community Food Projects Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program to include development of food hubs.

Support farmers of color, 20 percent of whom grow fruits and vegetables, by voting for the Udall Amendment to increase funding for the Outreach Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, which will also now benefit Veteran farmers and ranchers.

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