How did it go? Ask your friends to call!
How did your call go? Let us know if you made a call by clicking here.
The debate on the farm bill started about an hour ago. Senator Harkin is wearing a killer green tie. If you want to watch it live, check it out on C-SPAN. We anticipate the introduction of amendments sometime tomorrow. Lugar-Lautenberg will come up later in the week, while Grassley-Dorgan is likely to be the first or second amendment on the floor. We're hearing good news about broad support for Grassley-Dorgan. The amendment would place a hard cap on commodity payments of $250,000 per year and it provides a better definition of who is considered a farmer. Over five years, the amendment will save $513 million and direct this funding into nutrition, specialty crops and beginning farmers and ranchers.
Lugar-Lautenberg will replace the existing commodity payment programs with a system of improved and expanded crop insurance. It is a viable alternative to our current payment structure. We have yet to hear how much will be saved with this change, but savings will be redirected into nutrition, conservation and McGovern-Dole international school feeding program. Michael Pollan mentioned this amendment in his NY Times editorial - Weed it and Reap.
A more radical alternative proposed by Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, and Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, would scrap the current subsidy system and replace it with a form of free government revenue insurance for all American farmers and ranchers, including the ones who grow actual food. Commodity farmers would receive a payment only when their income dropped more than 15 percent as the result of bad weather or price collapse. The $20 billion saved under this plan, called the Fresh Act, would go to conservation and nutrition programs, as well as to deficit reduction.
Keep those calls coming. Take your action to the next level:
- Write a letter to the editor. Check out Cindy's Anti-Poverty Blog for her response to Pollan's Op-Ed.
- Invite your friends on Facebook to make a phone call. Share this message on Facebook.
- Blog about the farm bill debate. For resources and ideas, check out Ethicurean, Blog for Rural America and of course, yours truly - Bread Blog.
- Send an email to your co-workers, friends and family. Ask them to make the phone call - write them about your experience. It's so easy!
What are some other ways to respond? Post your thoughts in the comments section.
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