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Old 11-06-2007, 05:43 AM
Location: S.E. US
13,169 posts, read 642,467 times
Reputation: 5118


ALERT ... Spread the Word!

The 2007 Farm Bill is highly consequential to the health of the nation and the survival of small, sustainable farms. It's moving fast, but there is still hope, if people ask their Senators and Representatives to support a Senate amendment called the FRESH Act (S. 2228)

FRESH Act amendment was introduced in the Senate by Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana, and Democrat Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

If you agree that it makes sense, ask your Senators and Representative to support S. 2228.

UC Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, described the situation in his essay, titled "Weed it and Reap" in yesterday's New York Times:

Americans have begun to ask why the farm bill is subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils at a time when rates of diabetes and obesity among children are soaring, or why the farm bill is underwriting factory farming (with subsidized grain) when feedlot wastes are polluting the countryside and, all too often, the meat supply.

For the first time, the public health community has raised its voice in support of overturning farm policies that subsidize precisely the wrong kind of calories (added fat and added sugar), helping to make Twinkies cheaper than carrots and Coca-Cola competitive with water. (Pollan M 2007)

Vital Choices Newsletter

Many farmers and health experts seek serious change to what has become an $8 billion annual welfare check for big agribusinesses that produce our least healthful foods. The House passed its version of the Farm Bill in July, and it contained no substantive changes to the current system, thanks to a powerful lobby.

Here's how the Senators described the current situation and their amendment's purpose, in a press release:

“Over the past ten years, farm subsidies have gone to just one out of three farmers with only six percent of farms receiving more than 70 percent of that money – namely $120 billion. Subsidy programs have spurred farm consolidation, violated international trade agreements and still left most farmers heavily exposed to risk,” said Lugar, a family farmer and member and former chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“The current farm bill is an antiquated system of giant payments to a handful of farms, while ignoring the needs of most American farmers,” said Lautenberg. “Our bill provides a safety net to farmers … regardless of what they grow or where they farm. It ensures stable incomes, even in bad years, reduces our deficit and frees up money for conservation, nutrition and harvesting local crops like fruits and vegetables.”

If you share these concerns, contacted your US Senators and US Representative to tell them you want a 2007 Farm Bill that does four key things:

- Makes fruits and vegetables much more affordable for consumers of all income levels.

- Eliminates or sharply reduces subsidies for corn, soy, and wheat.

- Makes the school lunch program a subsidized market for the most healthful foods.

- Rewards soil conservation and sustainable farming (organic and mixed-use).
For more on our reasons for supporting these positions, see “Farm Bill Sets Americans’ Tables for Ill Health”. Vital Choices Newsletter: Farm Bill Sets Americans’ Tables for Ill Health

The Farm Bill is now going through the Senate. Since the Senate and the Representatives will need to work on a compromise to pass the bill, it's important that you let your Representatives know also how you feel.

To find contact information for your Senators, go to U.S. Senate

You will lend your letter or email more impact if you do four things:

1)Include your full name and address.
2)State your purpose for writing or e-mailing in the first paragraph, and include the number of the bill (S. 2228 for Senator Lugar and Lautenberg’s FRESH Act).
3)Address only one issue and keep the letter to one page.
4)Ask for a response to your letter, so you know where they stand.

Address your letters as follows:

The Honorable (Senator’s full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable (Representative’s full name)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

You can also call your Congresspersons by calling the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected to their offices.
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