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Crucial 2012 Farm Bill in the Senate this week

June 6, 2012

Editors Note: We have been tracking Michigan Senator Stabenow’s role on this issue, since she is the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Food & Water Watch began a campaign last year to target Stabenow, but despite the thousands of letters and signatures Stabenow has not taken the position they had hoped. Below is the most recent update from Food & Water Watch on the 2012 Farm Bill.

This week, the Senate will start debating the next Farm Bill.

This is a critical moment for our food. The Farm Bill is a massive, far-reaching bill that touches almost every aspect of our food, from research funding to agricultural policy to farm subsidies. It is only renewed about once every 5 years. We need to make sure the 2012 Farm Bill moves our food system in the right direction.

In this new Farm Bill, we need to protect what we gained in the 2008 bill, and on that foundation, we need to begin building a food system where consumers have access to safe, healthy food and small farmers can compete in the market. But giant corporate interests are ready to block us every step of the way, using the Farm Bill to win bigger profits for themselves. That’s why we need our Senators to use the 2012 Farm Bill to fix our broken food system.

We have a choice: will this Farm Bill get our broken food system back on track, or if it will continue to favor corporate agriculture over small farmers and consumers? Every Senator will be key in making this choice, and they need to hear from you. Will you ask your Senator to help craft a Fair Farm Bill?

There are two key amendments you should urge your Senator to support:

  • Help small farmers compete in the marketplace with the packer ban amendment. Every day, family farms are going out of business, largely because they can’t compete against large corporations that control most aspects of our food supply. One damaging tactic that corporations use is holding onto their livestock, manipulating the price of meat in the markets and selling when it benefits them most. But small farmers can’t afford to wait for the right market conditions to sell their livestock. We need to ban meatpackers from owning livestock, to level the playing field for family farmers.
  • Protect the future of non-GE crops with the Tester amendment on seeds and breeds. More and more, agriculture research is controlled by corporations who are focused on expanding their genetically engineered crops. Every year farmers are left with fewer choices of seeds that are not genetically engineered. This amendment would guarantee that non-GE crops get a fair share of the research funds. At least 5% of research funding would have to go toward something other than genetically engineered crops.

Big corporations will be pushing for policies in the new Farm Bill that help their profit margin. Make sure your Senator knows that’s not what our country needs. 

It’s up to us to urge our Senators to protect small farmers, and consumers like you, in the Farm Bill, not pave the way for more industrialization of our food. If these policies are put in place, we could make progress toward a more equitable food system. Tell your Senators that you demand their strong leadership for a Fair Farm Bill.

 

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