Every six years or so, Congress negotiates a farm bill that governs everything from crop insurance and subsidies to food stamps and conservation issues. Grassroots organizations have been working for the past year and a half to help craft provisions that will be more favorable to small and mid-sized farms and rural communities, as opposed to the industrial commodity farms and massive CAFOs that currently benefit from most of the dollars allocated for subsidies.
A new wrinkle has emerged, however. As part of the agreement to pass the debt ceiling bill this past August, Congress appointed a committee of 12, six members from each house and equally representing both parties, to trim $1.3 trillion dollars from the budget. This super committee has until November to come to an agreement. Their process is to rely on input from various Congressional committees to determine the spending cuts.
Agriculture Committee leaders in both houses have delivered a package of cuts that will mostly replace the provisions of the Farm Bill, thus effectively ending open discussion and negotiation about its provisions in the 2012 legislative session. According to published accounts, the proposed cuts include $6.5 billion to conservation programs, $5 billion to nutrition programs, and $15 billion to commodity subsidy programs. The conservation cuts would be on top of the $2 billion already made by Congress in the appropriations process.
If you want to make your voice heard, you need to call your members of Congress TODAY. The only way to take back our government from the corporate interests who are controlling the debate is to speak up. One voice may not make much of a difference, but when hundreds of thousands of voices join together, change happens.
For the latest news on the negotiations, visit http://farmpolicy.com/. To learn more about the issues and how you can take action, visit http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/fbcampaign/farm-bill-news/