July 11, 2012
2012 Farm Bill - Breaking News
Just Released - House of Rep Draft
Time to act is running out. The House draft of the Farm Bill is almost finalized, then the compromises with the Senate version will begin. The House version is far worse than the Senate version so compromises do not work in our favor.
Under the House version, federal crop insurance subsidies would drastically increase to an unprecedented average of $10 billion/year — with no subsidy caps, no targeting, no income limits, and not even minimal conservation requirements.
This is a major setback considering the Senate version CUT $5 billion/year in direct commodity subsidies (instead of increasing them to $10B). Plus, the Senate version capped crop insurance (which can be used/abused as a form of subsidy). The House version could provide unlimited subsidies to the nation’s largest farms and wealthiest landowners.
Hidden Costs of the 2012 Farm Bill
Why Care & Our Priorities
With more than $500 billion at stake and policy implications for five years, the Farm Bill has an immense and far-reaching impact on crop subsidies, conservation policies, fresh food programs, and SNAP (food stamps). Decreasing or increasing subsidies to commodity crops (especially corn and soy which are used as animal feed), greatly affects the price of meat, dairy and eggs... thus, increasing or decreasing their respective prices and consumption.
1st Priority --> Reducing Feed Subsidies
Reducing the massive subsidies to large-scale feed crops increases the cost of meat, dairy, eggs and other animal-based products. The government provides about $20 billion every year in direct farm subsidies. Feed grains (mostly corn - see graph) account for the largest share of support, more than double of the next commodity crop.
2nd Priority --> Increasing Subsidies for Fresh Produce
The next step is advocating that subsidies be redirected towards fresh produce (thus lowering the prices). This benefits SNAP (the food stamps program), the general public, producers, and farm workers when applied fairly.
Take Action - Calling Details
Call your Senators and House Representatives. Many are in session (video) but there's still time before their final vote/compromise between the House and Senate.
How to Call:
Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Ask for your Senator's or House Representative's office.
When connected, ask for the aid who covers the Farm Bill.
If unavailable, leave your name, number, city and message.
"I'm a constituent. I'm calling about the Farm Bill to ask (Senator or Representative) to reduce commodity direct payments and crop insurance (especially for large agribusiness) in favor of subsidies that support fresh fruits and vegetables."
Bonus: Here's the Agricultural Committee. If your state is represented, your call is even more important.
AWFW's Farm Bill Page