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Farm Bill is in the House – Florida Organic Growers

carbon-soil-depletionFlorida Organic Growers Need Your Help!

We received this email from the Florida Organic Growers Organization, as part of the community we feel it is important for consumers and growers alike to be informed.

When you think about the future of food, what do you want to see? If you’re like us, you want to see thriving family farms across the countryside and your choice of fresh, healthy, affordable food in your community.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is poised to take a giant step backwards this week – away from the kind of future we want and towards unlimited subsidies for mega-farms and corporate agri-business and reduced investments in organic and sustainable farming.

The American people didn’t ask for this – we expect better.

With your help last month we made some big progress in getting farm policy back on track in the Senate and now it’s time to ensure the House of Representatives does the same.

Please help us tell Congress!

FOG supports the following amendments. Contact your representative by 5 p.m. today to voice your support:

1. Commodity Payment Subsidy Reform – #91 (Fortenberry) This cost-saving amendment would restore common-sense rules and fiscal integrity to the commodity program by capping total commodity benefits at $250,000 per year for any one farm.  The bill as reported places no effective limit on Title I farm program payments.

2. Local Food and Rural Development – #176 (Pingree-Fortenberry-Gibson-McIntyre) This would make changes to multiple existing USDA programs that support development of a local and regional food system.

3. Soil Erosion and Wetland Protection – #28 (Fortenberry and Thompson) This bipartisan cost-saving amendment would enhance conservation by linking taxpayer subsidies for crop insurance to basic conservation requirements that minimize the damage to highly erodible lands and wetlands. This provision represents an important first step toward establishing conservation accountability in the federally subsidized crop insurance program, while protecting the natural resources essential to our long-term food security.

3. 2501 Amendment – #69 (Lujan) The Lujan Grisham amendment would increase mandatory funding for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program.

4. Organic Initiative EQIP Amendment – #38 (Kuster) This amendment would eliminate lower annual and total payment limitations for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative and would improve the ability of organic farmers to access the program. This puts the Organic Initiative payment limitations in line with all other EQIP initiatives.

5. GIPSA Anti-Retailiation – #115 (Kaptur) This amendment would clarify that it is a clear violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act for companies to retaliate against farmers for exercising their legal rights, such as talking to federal agency officials or members of Congress about their farming operations and contracts. It is the same as the Senate amendment by Rockefeller-Tester-Johnson (#993).

6. SNAP Incentives – #53 (Kildee) This amendment would increase the investment in demonstration SNAP local fruit and vegetable incentive programs by $5 million per year with the spending offset by reducing the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit for some farm payments from $950,000 to $750,000 per year.

7. Organic Crop Insurance – #197(Shea-Porter) Rep. Shea-Porter is planning to file an amendment to direct USDA to publish organic price elections for all organic commodities within three years.

8. Conservation (CRP and EQIP) – #73 (Blumenauer) Rep. Blumenauer will file two amendments from his conservation marker bill. One amendment will make improvements to EQIP and the other will make improvements to CRP.

9. Crop Insurance Payment Limitations ($50k and Actively Engaged) – #51 (Petri-DeLauro) This is equivalent to the Senate’s Shaheen-Toomey amendment placing payment limitations on crop insurance.

Please visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Amendment Tracker for the most up to date information. For more information on the complete list of amendments, please click here.

For our future,

Florida Organic Growers

P.O. Box 12311

Gainesville, FL 32604