American Farmland Trust
Farm Policy Update May 31, 2007

Getting Down to Farm Bill BusinessElements of the Bill

Congress is awash in “marker bills”—typically bipartisan legislation outlining priorities for possible inclusion in the final farm bill. More than 250 legislators have signed on to bills with ideas to help move U.S. farm policy in the right direction: from expanding access to healthy food to providing incentives for biofuels to supporting beginning farmers. The Farm, Nutrition, and Community Investment Act (S. 1424/H.R. 2144) is the most comprehensive bill to date--including provisions for nutrition, healthy diets, conservation, dairy, new market development, along with renewable energy and local food systems. It also incorporates Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) reforms supported by AFT.

The House Agriculture Committee has begun formal work on the 2007 Farm Bill. Starting with Titles II and IV, the Conservation and Credit titles, the subcommittee completed its mark up of the proposed language last week. AFT issued a press statement on the subcommittee mark up. By the July 4th Congressional recess, all of the subcommittees plan to complete work on their respective titles and will hold a full committee mark up session and committee vote on the 2007 Farm Bill.

Hungry for Farm Policy?

AFT's FarmcastIf you’re hungry for farm policy, this week’s Farmcast will leave you full. Listen to Ralph Grossi, AFT’s president, and Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) as they discuss the Farm, Nutrition, and Community Investment Act and the priorities it lays out for the 2007 Farm Bill. Don’t go hungry—subscribe to AFT’s podcast series today!

AFT Honors Congressional Steward of the Land

Ralph Grossi and Richard Rominger & Senator Tom Harkin AFT board member Richard Rominger and AFT president Ralph Grossi presented an award to Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for his lifelong support of conservation and America’s farms. Harkin chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. In 2002, he helped create the Conservation Security Program (CSP), the nation’s first “green payments” program, which provides financial incentives to farmers and ranchers who adopt and maintain sound conservation practices on agricultural land. Harkin also established the first-ever renewable energy title, and he is working to expand and strengthen conservation initiatives in the 2007 Farm Bill.

AFT Action Network

Calling All Legislative Athletes!

As the Farm Bill legislative debate heats up this summer, we'll call on people like you to exercise your right to weigh in on issues that are important to you and your community—healthy and local food, supporting farmers, and protecting our air, water, land and wildlife. Already the AFT Action Network has sent thousands of e-mails and faxes to Congress to help secure 15 additional co-sponsors to the comprehensive Farm, Nutrition, and Community Investment Act. Ready to join the team as we sprint toward the 2007 Farm Bill finish line?

Than put your letter-signing sneakers on and get heard by signing up for AFT’s Action Network.

Congress Is Talking About Your Food…Join the Discussion

The new “Congress Is Talking About Your Food” brochure and Web site are designed to educate and engage consumers in the 2007 Farm Bill debate. “The farm bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that Congress will enact this year,” says AFT president Ralph Grossi. “It affects how taxpayers’ money will be spent on farm and food programs that influence everything from what’s available in grocery stores and who is eligible for food stamps to what farmers grow and how farmers take care of our environment.”

Media Update

Dole & Daschle Call for End to Farm Subsidies
Former Senate leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Bob Dole (R-KS) have proposed eliminating direct subsidy payments to farmers. The new report suggests using the estimated $4.68 billion in taxpayer savings to fund conservation, disaster assistance and renewable energy and carbon markets—all ways to reform U.S. agriculture policy to better serve farmers and the public.

What’s the Fate of Direct Payments in the 2007 Farm Bill?
Agri-Pulse editor Sara Wyant says both chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are looking for ways to pay for programs under the new pay-go budget rules, and direct payments to commodity producers may be the cash that the committees are looking for.

Everything’s Coming up Rosa
She may not be a household name, but Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) is a powerful woman in agriculture. Successful Farming writes about her introduction of the Farm, Nutrition, and Community Investment Act and what it could mean for the 2007 Farm Bill.

Voices for Change
Illinois-based MidWeek News writes about the many “Voices for Change”— producers from across the United States who represent all types of American agriculture and are calling for a new direction in U.S. farm policy.

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