The Senate is voting on Farm Bill Amendments TODAY!
The U.S. Senate is currently voting on amendments to the 2012 Farm Bill. This half-trillion-dollar bill comes up for re-authorization every five years and covers everything from farm subsidies and crop insurance to forestry, food stamps and school lunches. Our Executive Director Marty Mesh is currently having conversations with Senator Nelson’s office, so today we’re focusing on outreach to Senator Marco Rubio’s office. Call Senator Rubio’s office TODAYto help protect organic farmers!
Senator Rubio’s office can be reached at (202) 224-3041 or through this webform. His legislative assistant for agriculture is Sara Decker. You can ask for her when you call or email her directly at Sara_decker@rubio.senate.gov.
Ask Senator Rubio to Support the following Amendments:
Brown (OH) (SA 2445) – Rural Economic Development and Beginning Producers.
Creating jobs in rural America and ensuring the success of the next generation of farmers are
national priorities, yet the committee-passed bill fails to make an adequate investment in rural
economic development and in the future of American agriculture. This amendment would
fund critical rural development and beginning farmer and rancher programs.
Merkley-Feinstein-Sanders-Kerry (SA 2382) – Organic Crop Insurance.
Crop insurance is the center of the new farm safety net, but it does not work for organic farmers. Organic farmers pay a higher premium yet USDA does not pay organic farmers at the organic price after a loss for all but four crops. This amendment would direct USDA’s Risk Management Agency to complete the development of the organic price series to rectify the problem.
Durbin-Coburn (SA 2439) – Crop Insurance Reform.
Current crop and revenue insurance premium subsidies in the crop insurance title are unlimited. This amendment would ensure a fiscally responsible farm safety net by reducing by 15 percentage points the annual crop insurance premium subsidies for program participants whose adjusted gross annual income exceeds $750,000 ($1.5 million for most married participants). This amendment would save close to $1.3 billion over ten years, and would ensure that millionaires pay closer to 50 percent of their own insurance costs.
Chambliss (SA 2438) – Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands Conservation.
To receive commodity subsidy payments or conservation assistance, producers for decades have been required to meet basic conservation requirements that protect the natural resources on which productivity and future food security depend. Crop insurance premium subsidies, the largest subsidy and the only one slated to grow under the terms of the bill, currently do not have that same requirement. This amendment would extend basic conservation requirements in the commodity title to crop and revenue insurance programs.
Ask Senator Rubio to Oppose the following Amendments:
- Toomey (SA 2217) – Anti-Small Business Regulatory Assistance.
Organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, creating jobs in rural America and providing economic opportunity for farmers. Organic farmers must adhere to strict regulations to be certified, and a small cost-share (up to $750 per year per operation) is provided to assist small and mid-sized businesses meet certification costs. This amendment would eliminate the program that provides cost-share assistance.
Chambliss (SA 2432) – Anti-New Markets for Farmers.
Farmers are responding to skyrocketing demand for local food by increasing production, creating new markets, and launching new businesses. This amendment would undermine growth in local and regional markets by eliminating funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.
Moran (SA 2443) – Anti-Beginning Farmer Training.
This amendment would divert critical funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a successful beginning farmer training and education program, to fund state farm safety training programs. Robbing USDA’s sole beginning farmer grant program, already underfunded, to fund an unrelated program is unfair and unwise.
THANK YOU! Your continued advocacy is critical to ensuring the future of organic farming in America.
For a full list of amendments important to agriculture, please see this letter from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
If you’d like to learn more about Farm Bill 2012, you can download the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Farm Bill Platform here.