Monday, October 31, 2011

24 Hours to Kill the "Secret Farm Bill"

I'm blatantly repurposing content from fooddemocracynow.org because they're reporting that we have less than 24 Hours to Kill the "Secret Farm Bill" and I want to spread the word so that we all act quickly to protect our own best interests! Your Congressperson and Senators need to hear from you on this issue or corporate agribusiness will win this battle again. Full details:


For the past several weeks, rumors of a “Secret Farm Bill” being hatched behind closed doors in Washington between only a handful of legislators and industrial agriculture lobbyists have been leaking out of Congress. Last week those rumors hit panic mode.
According to multiple sources in DC, the most corporately entrenched Senators and Representatives of the Ag committees are locked behind closed doors on Capitol Hill with agribusiness lobbyists trying to carve up the 2012 Food and Farm Bill in an intentionally hurried process that will kill any needed reforms for protecting family farmers, the environment and improving healthy food opportunities for all Americans.
If corporate greed gets its way, family farmers and food reformers will possibly be locked out of the conversation on reforming food and farming policy until 2017. It’s no wonder people are marching in the streets!
If you think the ghouls of Halloween are serving up a frightening brew, wait until these creepy members of Congress write your Food and Farm Bill behind Closed Doors!

The Four Horsemen of the Farm Bill Apocalypse 

Zombies of the Haunted House:
1. Frank Lucas – (R-OK) Current Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
Lucas is so in the tank for industrial agriculture that earlier this year he proposed a hearing on the “over-regulation of agricultural biotechnology”.
Not surprisingly, during the 2009-2010 election cycle, Lucas received more than $317,000 from agribusiness interests, including $16,000 from Monsanto and $15,000 from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. What do you think they want now?
2. Collin Peterson (D-MN) Former Chair of the House Agriculture Committee
Peterson is widely known as “Cargill” Peterson for his love of defending industrial agriculture and has taken millions of dollars from agribusiness firms during his career; including $19,999 from Monsanto and $21,750 from the American Farm Bureau during the 2010 election cycle.
Vampires of the Seditious Senate:
3. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
Rumors point to Stabenow as leading the push for the “Secret Farm Bill” because she doesn’t want to have to deal with crafting this complicated piece of federal legislation during an election year.
If you think Stabenow’s willingness to throw out real reform of U.S. food policy because she doesn’t want the “headache” during an election season, consider the fact that during the 2012 election cycle, from 2007 to now, Stabenow has pocketed more that $483,000 in agribusiness PAC and individual donations and is currently the top recipient of Agricultural Services & Products donations. Priceless!
Kind of gives new meaning to the term, “Perks of the Senate”.
4. Pat Roberts – (R-KS) Senate Agriculture Committee – Ranking Member
Roberts is a known industrial ag favorite, that during the 2009 Senate confirmation hearing of Secretary Vilsack he went so far as to draw an outrageous picture of organic farmers as GQ reading porch sitters. If that weren’t bad enough, Roberts has already grabbed more than $706,000 in agribusiness cash for the 2012 election cycle, including political donations from the National Corn Growers Association, DuPont, Pfizer and Syngenta.


Why the 2012 Food and Farm Bill Matters
There is nothing more essential and personal to us than the food we eat and the water we drink. Agriculture policy dictates the quality, availability and health of our food resources. U.S. food and ag policy is far-reaching throughout the world, determining the fate of all those who eat.
Typically the Farm Bill is conducted every five years, involving a lengthy process of public hearings in Congress and meetings with stakeholders across the country. At risk with this secret deal are vital reform programs of commodity subsidies (already on the chopping block), funding for conservation, organic conversion and important nutrition programs. 
While members of Congress are working to find ways of cutting the budget, the currently proposed cut of $23 billion from the 2012 Farm Bill by members of Congress ag committees and the $33 billion in cuts proposed by the White House should not be made in haste or in any secretive backroom bargain that excludes the voice of the American farmer and eaters while taking advice from agribusiness lobbyists.
In a democracy, we deserve transparency and accountability, and in few places is this more personal or necessary than determining our food policy, where all stakeholders deserve a seat at the table, not simply those with the largest financial interest.
We are committed to this fight now, more than ever - please join us. Together, our voices will create the future we hope for.
Thanks for being a part of the solution and participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

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