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Farm Bill Still in Play

by Jennifer Miller — last modified Nov 21, 2011 12:37 PM

Despite recent rumblings that Congress would soon be announcing the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, the process is not over. It appears the debt super committee process is about to fail, so the urgency to include a Farm Bill in the process is fading.

Farmers in DC
Organic farmers storm congress, courtesy of NSAC

In the blink of an eye, Congress appeared to be on track to write the next Food and Farm Bill.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership announced they would write a Farm Bill in November. This fast track Farm Bill came out of the debt super committee process. While the ag committees were asked to provide funding level recommendations to the super committee, the ag committee leadership took the opportunity to prepare the next Farm Bill.

NCAP jumped into action to engage farmers and others in shaping our federal food and farm policy. As a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, we focused on our key decision makers in the Northwest: a House Agriculture Committee member and Debt Super Committee co-chair.

We organized a meeting of farmers with Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-D), our only member on an agriculture committee in the Northwest, to highlight important conservation, research and organic programs that advance alternatives to pesticides. We also reached Senator Patty Murray (WA-D), the co-chair of the debt super committee. We helped coordinate organic and sustainable agriculture organizations in Washington, presented to organic farmers at the Tilth Producers of Washington Conference, and sought organizations to sign onto a letter asking Senator Murray to make key changes to the expected Farm Bill proposal.

Despite recent rumblings that Congress would soon be announcing the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, the process is not over. It appears the debt super committee process is about to fail, so the urgency to include a Farm Bill in the process is fading.

So stay tuned and look for more opportunities to speak up for conservation, research, and organic farming programs that reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture. The Farm Bill is not a done deal.