Ag Policy

Call Your Congress Members who are Conferees!

Our Ag Policy Working Group met by phone last week and heard from our partner, Sarah Hockney, with the National Sustainable Ag Coalition.

Right now there is a big push to get information in front of the conferees.  Please reach out to your member of Congress if they are on the conferee list below - with phone numbers. 

  • The conference committee did not meet this week AND it looks like they may not hold a final public meeting.  This means we will need to reach out to the conference members via phone and email.  If you are on social media then reach out to them on Facebook and Twitter as well.
  • The next few days will be critical.  Outreach needs to start TODAY and continue through next week Wednesday January 15th--maybe even later. There are suggested scripts below for you to use for your outreach.
  • As of today there is no definitive knowledge on the status of key programs (whether or not these programs will be included or fully funded).  
  • If your state isn't listed in the below conferee list, please pass on this information to those you may know in the states below.  And, you can always send a facebook and twitter message to them.
  • 2014 Farm Bill Conferees 
    • Texas:
      • Randy Neugebauer (TX-19, R) 202-225-4005
      • Mike Conaway (TX-11, R) 202-225-3605
    • North Carolina:
      • Mike McIntyre (NC-07,D) 202-225-2731
    • Mississippi:
      • Thad Cochran (MS, R) 202-224-5054
    • Georgia:
      • Austin Scott (GA-08, R) (ranking member) 202-225-6531
      • Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA, R) (ranking member) 202-224-3521
    • Arkansas:
      • Rick Crawford (AR-01, R) (ranking member) 202-225-4076
      • Sen. John Boozman (AR, R) (ranking member) 202-224-4843
    • Alabama: 
      • Mike Rogers ( AL-03, R) 202-225-3261 
      • Martha Roby (AL-02, R) 202-225-2901
  • Suggested Scripts:
    • National Organic Cost Share Program: Hi, my name is X, and I’m a constituent and a voter calling about the farm bill. Since you are a member of the farm bill conference committee, I ask you to please ensure the National Organic Cost Share Certification Program is fully funded in the 2014 Farm Bill! This program helps farmers meet demand for organic food and ensures consumers have access to fresh, healthy organic food in our communities. It’s a win-win for consumers and farmers across the country.  Thank you for your time!
    • Payment Limitation Reform and GIPSA: Hi, my name is X, and I’m a constituent and a voter calling about the farm bill. Since you are a member of the farm bill conference committee, I ask you to:Please oppose any attempt to weaken or remove common-sense commodity subsidy reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill! 
      • Payment limitation reform for commodity subsidy programs was supported on a bipartisan basis last year in the House and Senate and must be included in the final bill - it saves money and limits the ability of mega-farms to abuse the system! Thank you for your time!
      • Please oppose any amendment that strips fair market protections from independent farmers and ranchers by preventing enforcement of GIPSA rules. Growers deserve a fair shot in the marketplace and protection from abusive practices!
    • Fairness for Farmers: Big Ag is trying to push through an amendment that would strip farmers and ranchers of basic legal protections against unfair treatment at the hands of large corporations (like retaliation, where a corporation can bankrupt a farmer for raising a grievance). If Big Ag wins and USDA can’t enforce what’s known as the GIPSA rule, independent meat and poultry producers have no legal protection against outright abuse. This is a particularly big issue for the South, where many independent poultry and hog farmers are contracted with large meatpackers and subject to abuse.
    • Long-overdue Reforms:Long-overdue, common-sense subsidy reforms that will save taxpayers money and were approved by bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate last year are on the chopping block in behind-the-scenes negotiations! Limiting subsidies and eliminating loopholes in the commodity programs – known as payment limitation reform – will keep mega-farms from abusing the system. It ought to be a no-brainer. Payment limitation reform would ensure that only individuals actively engaged in farming are able to receive subsidies – not, say, investors in Manhattan.
    • Investments in Organic Agriculture:Critical assistance for organic farmers through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program is on the line. If we don’t act now, the program could be completely defunded – stripping organic growers of a vital source of support that helps them meet growing demand for organic food and create local jobs. The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) helps defray part of the costs of organic certification for farmers hoping to capitalize on soaring demand for organic produce. The transition from non-organic to organic production can be burdensome: certification is an annual, multistep process that can simply be too expensive for small and mid-sized businesses. Offsetting this prohibitive cost is a small investment that benefits all of us in a big way.