The time has come to fight for our many farmers raising produce, meat and more to certified organic standards, and for the rights of our nation’s independent producers against abuses by large corporations. A small group of Senators and Representatives is meeting this week to negotiate the final version of a new farm bill. This may be our last chance to make changes that this bill desperately needs in order to work for sustainable farmers and a better food and farm future.
After much hard work to get a 5-year, comprehensive farm bill passed for 2012, the Senate passed a simple extension of the 2008 Farm Bill on New Years Eve as part of the larger legislative package to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The House approved the bill on New Years Day and President Obama signed it into law on January 2. The extension lasts one year and will expire on September 30, 2013. Congress has made a full, five-year farm bill a priority for 2013.
The Senate is currently debating amendments to their version of the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee has passed their version of the bill out of committee, but a date has not yet been scheduled to bring it to the floor of the House for debate.
Last year major progress was made on the food and farm policy front. Draft versions of the never-to-be 2012 Farm Bill included long-overdue reforms, support for conservation and natural resources, and investments in beginning farmers and the future of farming. The only problem – the bill never became law and instead, despite bipartisan efforts to pass a complete bill, an incomplete farm bill extension was passed on New Year’s Eve as part of the “Fiscal Cliff” negations. Learn More
These 37 Farm Bill programs did not receive baseline funding in the 2013 farm bill extension. Learn More
March 8, 2013
The farm bill extension that was included as past of the fiscal cliff deal on New Years Eve left out funding for many programs crucial to organic farming, rural development, farmers markets and rural communities. The extension also failed to cut the nearly $5 billion in direct subsidy payments that both the full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee had eliminated in both of their farm bill versions during last year’s failed farm bill process. For more information on the extension, please read our blog post from February.
Recently at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association we reached out to our members across the Carolinas to find out how this loss of funding is affecting farmers, researchers, farmers markets, and local communities. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of blog posts highlighting the real effects that this extension is having on organic agriculture and local food systems. This post focuses on the loss of funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and how it is affecting organic producers around the Carolinas. Learn More
March 14, 2013
This is the second post in our series of blogs highlighting how the current farm bill extension is affecting organic agriculture and local food systems.
This week we are featuring guest blogger Kelly Owensby, Project Manager of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm. This program of the Orange County Partnership for Young Children (OCPYC) provides an amazing opportunity to displaced farmers from Burma who have recently moved to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. However, Kelly’s program is in desperate need of funding to keep it operational. OCPYC had planned to apply to several sources of USDA funding this year, however those funds are no longer available because of the current farm bill extension. Learn More
Dear Supporters of Local, Organic Food and Farming:
With a pause in the US Senate’s Farm Bill debates, we have a golden opportunity to protect local food from industrial-scale food safety rules! The Senate may consider three farm bill amendments next week that would fix major problems with proposed food safety rules from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The local food movement nationwide needs your help to pass these critical reforms. Learn More
Yesterday we asked for your help in supporting 5 amendments and opposing 1 amendment to the House version of the 2013 Farm Bill – the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The House Agriculture Committee worked until almost Midnight yesterday to pass the bill. The vote was 36 to 10, with mostly Democrats voting against the bill after nine hours of debate. Learn More