American Farmland Trust

Farm Policy Update January 31, 2008

Veto Threat Looms over Farm Bill

Market Day
Our farm bill progress is at risk! Contact Congress now to get the farm bill passed.

Take Action Now

A shadow of doubt is looming over the farm bill as Congress and the White House can’t agree on critical aspects of the legislation, including funding sources and subsidies. The White House has characterized the revenue generating components as tax hikes. Congress members point out that new revenue sources are critically needed to fund conservation, food stamps and renewable energy programs—and they are desperately seeking funding sources acceptable to the White House. Newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer will take the helm of the deadlocked negotiations to hopefully move both sides toward resolution. A veto would be a disaster for America’s farmers, ranchers, communities and the environment. Let Congress know they must get a farm bill passed this winter.


Will Funding for Conservation Increase in the Farm Bill

Farmers Visit Members of Congress to Push for Farm Bill Priorities

Ernie Averett, North Carolina farmer, Tar River Land Conservancy
"Environmental and conservation issues are important to farmers," says North Carolina farmer Ernie Averett. Averett joined Iowa farmers Jim Andrew and Varel Bailey this week for personal visits to Capitol Hill to let legislators know which issues like working lands conservation and the Senate's version of Average Crop Revenue can't be ignored during farm bill conference negotiations. AFT’s Action Network members from cities and towns across the country are sharing their reasons why Congress must support priorities such as local food and farmland protection: "My wife and I are both committed to supporting local farmers' markets…we hope the farm bill as passed will contain provisions that will reward these farmers' hard work and include the incentives needed for them to profitably continue their efforts on our behalf."

Farm and Food Policy Critical to Super Tuesday States

Twenty-four states go to the polls on February 5th to decide their party’s nominee for President. In each of these important primary states, farm and food policy is critical—affecting every voter at the grocery store, at the gas station or in their child’s school. But we don’t hear much from the candidates on their farm and food policy positions. Take the opportunity to raise the issue and tell them that to get your vote they must support more conservation funding for a cleaner environment, healthy local foods to build stronger communities, and a better safety net for all farmers.

Media Update

The Right Safety Net
The St. Paul Pioneer Press published a thought-provoking editorial on the difficult decisions facing Congress. "We're hoping the president's veto threat will help Congress tighten its focus as it works through the final details of the new farm bill, which will have a marked impact on farmers and rural communities…[and should contain a safety net with the right amount of padding.]"

Important Steps Forward
John Keeling of the National Potato Council, and a leader in the specialty crops community, told Brownfield Network, "There’s been a lot of good, solid work that’s gone into this [farm] bill. It represents some important steps forward for American agriculture and we need to get it in place."

Farm Bill Conservation Programs Key to Birds and Wildlife
Conservationists around the country are joining AFT in spreading the message that the farm bill contains programs critical to the health of working lands, birds and wildlife. This Capital Times article gets it right! 

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