Congress headed back to work this week for the lame duck session. Now that the elections and endless campaigning are over, let’s make sure a 2012 Farm Bill tops the legislative agenda.
In case you missed out on recent Farm Bill happenings, here’s a quick update: As of September 30th, in an unprecedented show of inaction by Congress, our nation’s food and farm policy expired. This irresponsible move defunded critical programs for beginning farmers, rural and urban job creation, natural resource conservation and access to healthy food. Two important programs that have expired as a result include the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program. These competitive grant programs are the only federal programs exclusively dedicated to training beginning and minority farmers and ranchers, fostering the next generation of agricultural producers that we need so much.
Furthermore, the worst drought of a generation continues to ravage our family farms. As of mid-October, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture designated drought-caused disasters in 2,100 counties—that’s two-thirds of all U.S. counties. As farmers continue to feel the brunt of this historic drought, they need the certainty of a 2012 Farm Bill, one that provides a strong, forward-thinking safety net for family farmers and our food supply.
So what can you do?
If you haven’t already, send a letter. Here’s one we’ve started, urging Congress to pass a 2012 Farm Bill equipped to meet today’s challenges in agriculture, a bill that invests in family farmers, our natural resources and our food supply.
Or better yet, make a call (and ask a friend to join you!). Tomorrow, November 15, concerned citizens from across the country are joining together for a national day of action. We’ll be flooding the phone lines on Capitol Hill with a unified statement: We want a 2012 Farm Bill, and we want it done right!
Here’s the information you need to make a call:
Click here to find your Congressional representatives by state.
Dial their number and tell the person who answers that you’d like to share a personal message for your legislator such as:
Hello, my name is _____. I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell them if you’re a farmer!). I’m calling to ask ______ to help get the 2012 Farm Bill finished, and make sure it invests in programs to support beginning farmers, local and regional food systems development, conservation and the role of family farmers in creating rural community prosperity and economic development.
Thanks for doing you part to speak up for family farmers and good food for all of us!