What are they planting in DC?

In the House of Representatives

April 17th ended the period of submitting letters the appropriations subcommittee on agriculture. SSAWG posted the suggested language for the alert to key southern House of Representatives on April 5th.  We know a great many of you viewed the post and would love to hear about your outreach.  If you are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida or Kentucky, share your experience by sending an email to policy@ssawg.org or by leaving us a message on our Facebook page.  

What's being planted in the House:   

Beginning Farmers and Rancher Opportunity Act has not yet been introduced but will most likely be introduced in the latter part of April.  This bill helps a new generation of farmers and ranchers by providing training, conservations, research, and credit resources to help reduce the barriers to entry for those entering the agricultural field.  Stay tuned to the Ag Policy Page to get updates on the bill's introduction and the southern representatives who are co-sponsoring this bill.  Encourage your member of Congress to co-sponsor this piece of legislation by signing this  letter (www.bit.ly/BFROA2013).      

The Local Food Farm and Jobs Act H.R. 1414 was re- introduced on April 9, 2012 by Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine.  This important piece of legislation expands opportunities for farmers, increases access to healthy foods, makes targeted investments in programs that spur economic growth through local food and farms.  Only two southern Representatives have co-sponsored this bill-Rep. John Lewis (D GA-5) and Rep. Jim Moran (D VA-5).  Please reach out to your representative and let them know the importance of this bill by signing on to this letter (www.bit.ly/LFFJA2013)  

 How this legislation supports sustainable agriculture:

  • Allowing SNAP benefits to be redeemed at CSAs.
  • Expand the Farmer's Market Promotion Program to include all local marketing and reintroduce this program as the Farmer's Market and Local Food Promotion Program and funding this revised program at $20million annually.
  • Directing specialty block grants to be used to improve farm profitability and sustainability.
  • Providing food safety and inspection outreach, technical assistance and training to small meat and poultry establishments.
  • Directing the Risk Management Agency to offer organic crop price elections to all organic crops.
  • Enhance agriculture research and extension services by establishing a local and regional farm and food system enterprise facilitation initiative that increases training and technical assistance for local foods systems through the extension system.

What's being planted in the Senate:      

The Senate Appropriations Agriculture subcommittee has extended its deadline for input on the funding priorities for FY2014.  Please visit our post to get more information on which Senators to contact and suggested language for your communications.

The Local Food Farm and Jobs Act S.679 was introduced in the Senate as well.  It is important that we reach out to all Senators in the south to urge their support of this bill.  Currently no southern Senator has signed on to support this important legislation.  Again please sign on to this letter (www.bit.ly/LFFJA2013) to encourage their support.


SSAWG Policy Coordinator