Farm bill moves toward conference as lawmakers and farmers call for beginning farmer support

This week marked an exciting development in the two-year-long push to deliver a new five-year farm bill.  Both the House and the Senate have already passed their own versions of the bill; the remaining hurdle is to reconcile the two with each other in a way that will win approval both both bodies.  Read More  Read More

Farm Bill policy update – One step forward, one step back

It feels like we’re accelerating toward September 30th, the expiration of the current farm bill extension!  That date has always been on the long-term horizon, but until recently there’d been hope of real headway on creating a full five-year bill to replace these short-term solutions.  Congress is back in home-districts for the month of August, so they’ll have only one month to get it done, lest we face a re-enactment of last year’s... Read More

Final Review of the Senate Farm Bill and How It Affects You

Before we switch our focus over to the House, we need to do a quick run-through of the Farm Bill that made its way through the Senate over the past few weeks.  With such a huge piece of legislation, it’s difficult to fully wrap one’s head around it; we are lucky to have the hotshots over at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to guide us through it and give their opinion.  Here’s a brief from their bill analysis, originally... Read More

Farm Bill passes Senate Yesterday, on to the House

The Senate officially passed its version of the US Farm Bill yesterday, throwing the ball in the court of the House of Representatives. We want to thank everyone who took actions – whether it was sending emails, signing petitions or making phone calls – to put pressure on their Senators.  Due to the high levels of partisan politics last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to push through a cloture vote, meaning that discussion... Read More

Microloan amendment receives bipartisan support in the Senate

We are thrilled to announce a small victory on the Farm Bill front! This week the FSA Microloan Authorization amendment to the Farm Bill received bipartisan support, as Senators Casey (D-PA), Harkin (D-IA) and Johanns (R-NE) all put themselves as official co-sponsors of the bill.  The Microloan amendment strengthens the Farm Service Agency’s microloan program for young and beginning farmer, which is a modification of its existing Farm Operating... Read More

Farm Bill Update – the Committee Drafts are in

Last week we told you that the Senate and House Agriculture Committees were having their respective committee markup sessions, where the committees wrote a basic draft of the Farm Bill.  A House Agriculture Committee meeting, photo courtesy of Ag Committee web site. Here’s a quick recap on the process: the Chairs and Ranking Members of each committee putting together an initial draft and presenting it to the members of the Ag committees. ... Read More

Get the inside scoop on the Farm Bill with farmbillprimer.org

Congressional voting records.  Appropriation amounts.  More acronyms than you can shake a scuffle hoe at.  Marjorie Roswell, of FarmBillPrimer.org Starting to feel overwhelmed already by the massive amount of data surrounding the Farm Bill?  Sometimes when we’re feeling swamped, we turn to FarmBillPrimer.org, a great resource for data, maps, and analysis.  This week we scored an interview with Marjorie Roswell, the creator of FarmBillPrimer.org. ... Read More

Thank you for speaking up! Reporting back on Farmer Programs in the Senate

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who took the time last week to sign the petition, make calls, tell friends, etc. about the Senate’s budget vote.  As a refresher, there were three big pushes we had: to push funding for the beginning farmer programs that had been left high and dry in New Years Eve Farm Bill extension; to fix the problem with the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which had been updated in a way that didn’t... Read More

Update on pro-farmer Tester amendments – it’s not too late to take action!

First, a gigantic thank you to those who made calls and signed the petition supporting the Tester amendments this week! photo courtesy of Martouf As a quick refresher, the two amendments are to remove two hideous riders to the Senate Continuing Resolution bill (in layman’s terms, they are mini-bills tacked on to the 6-month budget proposal that the Senate is producing).  The first rider would strip away the protections that ranchers receive... Read More

Updates from DC: Victories on Conservation, Action Needed Today on Loans, GMO’s, and Meat

Thank you all so much for making calls over the past week regarding the Senate vote on funding farmer programs!  We have some news to report, and one more thing to ask of you, so read on: A Senate Agriculture hearing The proposed Continuing Resolution (the government’s 6-month budget plan) that was announced on Monday did indeed fix the funding problem for the Conservation Stewardship Program and for two other programs, the Farm and Ranch Land... Read More

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