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Why Should You Care About the 2012 Farm Bill?
The 2012 Farm Bill. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you haven’t.
There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the 2012 Farm Bill, and for good reason. This specific piece of legislation is reviewed and renewed every five years and it plays a vital role in food policy here in the U.S. Now is the time to speak up for our food rights as a nation. This policy affects everything from food safety to food stamps to environmental conservation to agriculture to big subsidies on the crops that keep the fast food wheels turning. This is one single piece of legislation that draws a lot of attention because it directly affects our food rights, which are quickly being eroded by Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big Brother.
Activists were up in arms last month when it was announced that the 2012 bill would be decided by a 12-member supercommittee (as opposed to the usual system of recommendations, hearings, education, debate and legislation reform). The “Secret Farm Bill” ended with the recent dissolution of the supercommittee, but not before the members recommended $23 billion in cuts to farm programs. As New York Timescolumnist Mark Bittman notes, the suggested changes “may save some money, but [do] nothing to change the fact that the wrong people will get it.” ~ The 2012 Farm Bill: Where Things Stand
Now that the Secret Farm Bill debacle has passed (though, not to liking of a lot of people because they do not address the real issues at hand), it is expected that the Agricultural committee will start back to work on the Farm Bill in February 2012. Now is the time to educate yourself on the bill and what all it covers and what it means to us as Americans who want real, wholesome food on our dinner plates, not frankenfoods from Monsanto. Author, and food activist, Michael Pollan tells us why it’s important that we pay attention, educate ourselves, and vote with our votes.
Like Michael Pollan said, it’s important that we vote with our forks AND vote with our votes. There is strength in numbers, and together, we CAN and WILL change the face of food policy. We have to start standing up and taking our rights back from Big Ag, who continue to whittle away at our fundamental food freedoms.
Here are some great resources to get you started. Don’t be intimidated by the word “legislation”. Thanks to some great people, there are some very easy to read and comprehend resources out there for the average Joe! This list was compiled by Tami O’Neil who wrote the piece The 2012 Farm Bill: Where Things Stand.
A Fair Farm Bill for America – This PDF document will introduce you to the history of the Farm Bill and how things have changed over the years.
Farm Bill 101 – A great outline of the Farm Bill in an easy to understand format.
Turning the Farm Bill into the Food Bill – A great video from Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), in which he discusses who is benefiting from the current Farm Bill.
2011 Farm Subsidy Database – Curious about who receives funding under the Farm Bill? Look no further than this great database created by the EWG.
Farm Bill of Health – A GREAT resource that will give you the confidence you need to explain the importance of the Farm Bill and surrounding issues to others.
Understanding the Farm Bill – Any time you mention legislation, people’s eyes glaze over and/or they steer clear because they don’t think they’ll understand anything they read. This Facebook page will give you daily updates and help you understand what’s going on with the Farm Bill.
Take Action for a Better Farm Bill – Now is the time for you to act. What will you do to make your voice heard for food freedom?
If you want to learn more about the buzz online, check out these recent news stories – there’s a wide variety!
Farm Bill Conservation Programs Threatened By Anticipated Budget Cuts
The Farm Bill: The view from the grassroots
3 Reasons to Pay Attention to Farm Bill 2012
The Farm Bill: Better Food Starts Here
Farm Bill 2012: Time For An Overhaul With Innovative Farming Systems
‘Secret’ farm bill faces uphill climb in 2012
Agricultural Profits Pass $100 Billion As Farmers Have One Of Their Best Years Ever
Farm Bill Reform Could Trim Americans’ Waistlines
No Secret Farm Bill and Other Things to be Thankful For