Click here for details on Farm Bill (H.R. 2642) – now Public Law No. 113-79
Ask Your U.S. Representative to Support Independent and non-GMO Farmers & Local Food in Farm Bill (HR 1947)
The U.S. House is debating its version of the Farm Bill, H.R. 1947. Over 200 amendments have been introduced, including several to protect farmers from burdensome food safety regulations and prevent the unauthorized release of genetically modified crops.
TAKE ACTION NOW
1. Send a Message to your U.S. Representative. Click the “Go to FREE Fax Petition” link above.
2. Make a Call to your U.S. Representative’s office (see how below) to follow-up on your message.
It takes just a couple of minutes, and it truly does make a difference!
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CALL YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, tell them your State, and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office
Find Your Representative online by entering your zip code at www.house.gov/representatives. The phone number shows in the Directory; click on the name for more details.
My name is _____________, and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Representative ________ to vote YES on the following Farm Bill amendments:
1. Benishek’s Amendment #214 to protect farmers from unnecessarily burdensome regulations;
2. Kaptur’s Amendment #115 to prevent large companies from retaliating against livestock and poultry producers who speak out about unfairness in the marketplace;
3. Lowey’s Amendment #136 to address contamination by genetically engineered crops; and
4. Pingree’s Amendment #176 to support small-scale meat processors who are vital to restoring our local food systems.
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YES – HOUSE AMENDMENTS TO H.R. 1947
All of the amendments are posted online at www.rules.house.gov/bill/hr-1947. To read the text of any amendment, simply click on the sponsor’s name. Below are those of particular interest.
Amendment #115 by Kaptur to prevent large companies from retaliating against livestock and poultry producers who speak out about unfairness in the marketplace. Farmers should not have to be afraid to tell the truth about the problems with corporate consolidation in our food system.
Amendment #136 by Lowey to address contamination by genetically engineered crops. The recent contamination of a wheat field in Oregon – and the resulting loss of consumer confidence both in the U.S. and internationally – has yet again shown that the existing provisions for testing unauthorized GMO crops are not sufficient to protect farmers and consumers.
Amendment #176 by Pingree. In addition to providing for various grant programs, this amendment directs USDA to establish a “local and regional farm and food system enterprise facilitation initiative to increase training and technical assistance” to help people working to establish local food businesses. The amendment also provides for critically needed technical assistance for small-scale meat processors, who are a vital piece of restoring our local food systems.
Amendment #214 by Benishek to protect farmers from unnecessarily burdensome regulations. The FDA has proposed extensive, complicated regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that basically assume the worst of every situation and then force the farmers to find science on their own to prove that their farming methods are safe. Many traditional and sustainable methods of cultivation will be “guilty” until proven innocent.
The Benishek amendment would require FDA to do a scientific and economic analysis of the regulations before they go into effect, focusing on the impact on agricultural businesses of all sizes. This amendment is important to ensure that FDA doesn’t drive farmers, particularly small-scale and sustainable farmers, out of business with unfounded and unnecessary regulations.
Ask Your Senators to Support Non-GMO Agriculture, Small Farmers & Food Freedom in Farm Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives is debating its version of the Farm Bill, H.R. 1947.
The U.S. Senate passed the Farm Bill (S.954) on Monday evening, June 10. Having failed to reach an agreement on what amendments to debate, the Senators left over 200 amendments on the table without a vote, including those listed in the petition.
The next step will be for the House of Representatives to take up its version of the Farm Bill. This could happen as early as next week. Stay tuned for news on what amendments are introduced and ways to get involved.
===== The Farm Bill is now in the House =====
The U.S. Senate is currently debating the Farm Bill, S.954. Over 200 amendments are on the table, including #978 to repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act”.
You can help us speak up for both farmers and consumers in this massive legislation.
Let your Senators know NOW that these amendments are important to you.
1. FAX Your U.S. Senators
Use the online petition to FAX the list of amendments and any comment you add (see the personal message field at the end). This petition service will also email your message to your local newspaper editor; simply click the radio button for “my nearest daily newspaper” or click “I’d like to choose” to select a local paper from the options given. There is no charge for using this petition service.
- For your personal message, be sure to add a few sentences to personalize the message! Tell them a little bit about who you are – it’s important that they realize you truly care and it’s not just a form message. When you call your Senators’ offices, be sure to ask if they received your fax.
2. Call Your U.S. Senators
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, tell them your State, and ask to be connected to your Senators’ offices. Remember that you should call BOTH Senators from your State.
- MESSAGE: I am a constituent from ____ (state), and I urge Senator _______ to vote YES on all of the following amendments:
1. King’s Amendment #1042 to clarify the exemption for small farmers under the Food Safety Modernization Act;
2. King’s Amendment #1033 to require FDA to do an analysis of the science and costs imposed by its proposed regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act;
3. Tester’s “Seeds & Breeds” Amendment #972 to dedicate a portion of USDA’s research to classical breeding;
4. Merkley’s Amendment #978 to repeal the biotech rider, aka “Monsanto Protection Act”
5. Begich’s Amendment #934 to ban GMO salmon
6. Boxer’s Amendment #1025 to support labeling of GMOs
7. Wyden’s Amendment #952 to remove the prohibition on planting hemp;
8. Boxer’s Amendment #1027 to protect honeybees and other pollinators;
9. Grassley’s Amendment #969 to improve enforcement of antitrust laws and address consolidation of our agricultural system;
10. Cruz’s Amendment #1083 to prohibit mandatory check-off programs.
Thanks for caring enough to take action.
Support Small, Direct-Marketing Farmers
Vote YES on Senator King’s Amendment #1042 to clarify the exemption for small farmers under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed Congress two years ago, it included a very important provision that exempted small-scale, direct-marketing farmers from some of the burdensome new regulations. The Tester-Hagan provision of FSMA was a vital protection for local food producers.
When FDA proposed regulations this year under FSMA, however, its interpretation of the Tester-Hagan provision undercut much of the intent. Among other problems, FDA’s proposed regulations measure who is a small farmer based on all the food they sell, instead of based on the food they sell that is subject to FSMA. The real intention of the Tester-Hagan provision was to judge size under FSMA based on the foods subject to FSMA, and Senator King’s Amendment clarifies that intention. This will bring more farmers within the protections of the Tester-Hagan provision, preventing them from being driven out of business by new federal regulations.
Support non-GMO seeds
Vote YES on Senator Tester’s Classical Breeding Amendment #972.
Vote YES on Senator Tester’s Classical Breeding Amendment #972.
More and more, agriculture research is controlled by corporations who are focused on expanding their genetically engineered crops, and every year farmers are left with fewer choices of seeds that are not genetically engineered. Farmers who want to avoid growing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) simply don’t have good alternatives. And when farmers have no options, consumers have no options.
Classical breeding is a proven science to meeting our food and fiber needs. Classical breeding is critical to the development of varieties that are suited to the many different geographic regions and conditions in our country. The resulting genetic variety is vital to our national food security.
In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress directed the USDA to make classical plant and animal breeding a priority for funding, but the agency imposed hurdles in the grant-making process that have undermined this Congressional mandate.
Senator Tester’s amendment corrects problems in USDA’s breeding grants by prioritizing public cultivar and breed development through classical breeding. It also removes hurdles that hinder USDA’s progress toward this goal.
The amendment does not call for any new expenditures by the government, nor does it stop all funding for GMO research. It is a modest approach that allocates some existing research money for non-GMO research.
Support judicial review of GMO crops –
Vote YES on Senator Merkley’s Amendment #978 to repeal Section 735 from the budget continuing resolution
In the last continuing budget resolution, which funds the federal government through September of this year, pro-biotech forces successfully inserted a provision that has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act.” This provision allows companies like Monsanto and DuPont to continue to sell genetically modified (GMO) seeds for planting even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally.
The provision forces USDA to grant temporary permits and deregulate GMO crops even if a Federal court has ruled that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers. This destroys any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of GMO crops.
Protect consumers from genetically engineered salmon –
Vote YES on Senator Begich’s Amendment #934
The FDA continues to consider the application for AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon, and appears likely to approve it.
The salmon has been genetically altered to produce extra growth hormones, allowing it to grow faster and bigger than natural salmon. There are no independent studies on the salmon’s safety. FDA instead relied on the false assumption that GMO foods are “equivalent” to natural foods, as well as data provided by the company that created, and stands to profit from, the GE salmon. At the same time, FDA ignored the concerns raised by thousands of Americans and dozens of legislators and scientists, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
Since it will not be labeled, people will have no way of choosing to avoid genetically engineered salmon in the stores if this fish is approved. In addition, the GMO salmon poses a threat to those who wish to eat wild salmon or other seafood. If the GMO salmon escape from the fish farms, which is all too likely, they could devastate native salmon populations, as well as the fish and marine mammals that depend on salmon for their food. Scientists have predicted that escaped GMO salmon would likely wipe out wild salmon populations, which will destroy the livelihood of coastal communities that depend on fishing.
Support labeling at the state and federal levels –
Vote YES on Senator Boxer’s Amendment #1025
Senator Boxer’s Amendment expresses support for labeling of GMOs, although it does not directly mandate labeling: “It is the sense of the Senate that the United States should join the 64 other countries that have given consumers the right to know if the foods purchased to feed their families have been genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered ingredients.”
Support labeling at the state and federal levels
Vote YES on Senator Sanders’ Amendment #965
Senator Sanders’ Amendment respects state rights and state power. Last year, at least two states were threatened that Monsanto would sue their states if they passed a GMO labeling bill. Sanders’ amendment simply confirms that states have the right to adopt GMO labeling laws if they choose to, protecting them from lawsuits based on federal law.
Note: The Senate voted down Sanders’ Amendment #965 recognizing states’ right to adopt GMO labeling requirements at the state level.
Hold FDA accountable –
Vote YES on Senator King’s Amendment #1033 to the agency to do an analysis of the science and costs of its proposed food safety rules
The FDA has proposed 1,200 pages of rules for farmers and food producers that would regulate every aspect of growing, harvesting, and processing foods under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
FSMA directed FDA to issue science-based regulations. But FDA’s proposed rules are not based on sound science. Instead, the FDA has written extensive, complicated new requirements that basically assume the worst of every situation and then force the farmers to find science on their own to prove that their farming methods are safe. Many traditional and sustainable methods of cultivation will be guilty until proven innocent.
Senator King’s amendment would require the agency to do an analysis of the scientific information used to develop the proposed rules, as well as analysis of the rules’ economic impacts. The analysis would specifically include the impact on local food systems and the availability of local food; and “what, if any, negative impact on the agricultural businesses and local food systems would be created, or exacerbated, by implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.”
Protect Our Food Supply
Vote YES on Senator Boxer’s Amendment #1027 to protect honeybees and other pollinators
Senator Boxer’s amendment would require the USDA, the Department of Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the long-term viability of honeybees and other pollinators.
Honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the federal agencies have been just sitting by and watching it happen. This poses a threat to all food production and we cannot afford to let it continue.
Reverse the Corporate Takeover of Our Food System
Vote NO on Senator Grassley’s Amendment #969 to create a USDA special counsel on consolidation
A small handful of companies control the vast majority of our agricultural system. This unprecedented level of consolidation has gone almost entirely unchallenged, allowing these companies to squeeze out farmers. For consumers, this means lower quality food at higher prices.
Senator Grassley has filed an amendment that would create a USDA special counsel to monitor consolidation in agriculture. The counsel would coordinate antitrust enforcement and efforts to improve competition in the industry.
Support Farmers Freedom
Vote YES on Senator Wyden’s Amendment #952 to allow American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp to the extent that it is allowed under state laws.
Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has absolutely NO use as a recreational drug.
Hemp is planted in many countries, and is legal to use in the U.S. — but illegal to plant in the U.S. The seed is known for its healthy protein and rich oil. The outer fiber from the stalk can be used for clothing, canvas and rope; the inner core fiber can used for construction and paper production. This crop provides excellent opportunities for farmers for a sustainable, profitable crop.
To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and nineteen have passed pro-hemp legislation; nine states (Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. Passage of the Industrial Hemp Amendment to the Farm Bill would finally allow these states to choose whether or not to let farmers grow industrial hemp.
Untie the Hands of Farmers
Vote YES on Senator Cruz’s amendment to prohibit mandatory check-offs
Under the current “check-off” programs, anytime a farmer sells a cow or a gallon of milk or any other covered commodity, the farmer is required to pay a fee to industry-run organizations. These funds are used to pay for things such as the “Got Milk?” and “Pork, the other white meat” advertising campaigns. The problem is that these advertising campaigns benefit primarily the retailers and grocery stores, not the farmers, but the farmers are stuck paying the bills.
When it comes to raw milk, the industry adds insult to injury by promoting only pasteurized milk products and running ads against raw milk – yet raw milk farmers are still required to pay into the check-off to support those ads. And now there is a proposal for an organic check-off, to tax even more farmers. The Cruz Amendment would bar any check-off program from being mandatory. If producers wish to fund a joint advertising campaign, they still could, but they would no longer be coerced to support advertising efforts that are not in their interest.
Uphold Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
Vote NO on Senator Johanns’ amendment to eliminate it
For years, American farmers and consumers have fought to get mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for food products, so that consumers could know what country their food came from. The 2008 Farm Bill included a provision for COOL, but the regulations implementing it were struck down by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The USDA has proposed revisions to the COOL regulations to address the WTO’s objections. The proposed COOL regulations are better than the previous version, providing more information for consumers about where livestock and poultry were born, raised, and processed. More than 200 groups submitted comments to USDA supporting this approach.
The large meatpackers, however, don’t like this and are trying to get COOL eliminated in the Farm Bill. Senator Johannns is expected to introduce an amendment to eliminate COOL on livestock and poultry products.
COOL is already the law of the land – it should NOT be reversed in this Farm Bill. The USDA’s proposed changes provide honest labeling for consumers while addressing the WTO’s concerns. Consumers deserve the right to know the source of their food and U.S. farmers and ranchers should be allowed to promote their products with pride.
Amendments to Support
- Begich’s Amendment #934
Wyden’s Amendment #952
Grassley’s Amendment #969
Tester “Seeds & Breeds” Amendment #972
Merkley’s Amendment #978
Boxer’s Amendment #1025
Boxer’s Amendment #1027
King’s Amendment #1033
King’s Amendment #1042
Cruz’s Amendment #1083
Amendments to Reject
Amendment Status – Voted On
- Sanders’ Amendment #965 – voted down