Tell Congress to Rein in the FDA: Contact Farm Bill Conferees

 
The Farm Bill is finally making progress. The House and Senate have both appointed conferees to try to work out the differences between the two chambers’ versions of the Farm Bill, and the conferees are meeting this week.

One of the issues under discussion is the FDA’s proposed food safety regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA’s proposed regulations pose a significant threat to sustainable farmers and food producers across the country.

Home-Sweet-Farm-July-Hanon-FieldWhile small-scale, direct-marketing producers are protected by the Tester-Hagan exemption, it does not solve all of the problems with FSMA. First, there are problems with FDA’s implementation of the Tester-Hagan exemption. Second, there are many good family farmers and food producers who do not have access to direct markets or who sell more than allowed under the exemption, but who are not big enough to absorb the costs that will be imposed by the FDA’s proposed rules.

The FDA has failed to provide a sound scientific basis for many of the requirements, choosing instead to take a “guilty until proven innocent” approach to traditional farming methods. This places unfair and unnecessary burdens on farmers who use sustainable inputs such manure and compost teas, as well as those with diversified livestock-crop farms.

FARFA led a coalition of 39 farming and consumer organizations in sending a letter urging Congress to include a provision in the Farm Bill that would require the FDA to do more analysis before enforcing rules under FSMA. You can read the letter at: www.farmandranchfreedom.org/support-benishek-provision-2013-farm-bill

Please add your voice and speak up for our farmers and food producers today!
 

TAKE ACTION

 
The Farm Bill conferees represent about half the states in the country. If you live or work in any of the States listed in the chart below, please call the conferee from your state.

Ask your conference member to “support the Benishek Amendment in the House version of the Farm Bill, to protect farmers from unnecessary and costly new regulations by FDA.”

(Please remember to submit your comments to the FDA by November 15see Take Action #2.)

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR ON THE FARM BILL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE IN THE FOLLOWING STATES:

STATE REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR DISTRICT PHONE NO.
AL Rep. Mike Rogers R-3rd 202-225-4872
AL Rep. Martha Roby R-2nd 202-225-2901
AR Rep. Rick Crawford R-1st 202-225-4076
AR Rep. John Boozman 202-224-4843
CA Rep. Jeff Denham R-10th 202-225-4540
CA Rep. Jim Costa D-16th 202-225-3341
CA Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod D-35th 202-225-6161
CO Sen. Michael Bennet 202-224-5852
FL Rep. Steve Southland R-2nd 202-225-5235
GA Sen. Saxby Chambliss 202-224-3521
GA Rep. Austin Scott R-8th 202-225-6531
IL Rep. Rodney Davis R-13th 202-225-2371
IA Rep. Steve King R-4th 202-225-4426
IA Sen. Tom Harkin 202-224-3254
KS Sen. Pat Roberts 202-224-4774
MA Rep. Jim McGovern D-2nd 202-225-6101
MI Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow 202-224-4822
MN Ranking Member Collin Peterson D-7th 202-225-2165
MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar 202-224-3244
MN Rep. Tim Walz D-1st 202-225-2472
MS Sen. Thad Cochran 202-224-5054
MT Sen. Max Baucus 202-224-2651
NC Rep. Mike McIntyre D-7th 202-225-2731
ND Sen. John Hoeven 202-224-2551
OH Sen. Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315
OH Rep. Marcia Fudge D-11th 202-225-7032
OK Chairman Frank D. Lucas R-3rd 202-225-5565
OR Rep. Kurt Schrader D-5th 202-225-5711
PA Rep. Glenn Thompson R-5th 202-225-5121
SD Rep. Kristi Noem At Large 202-225-2801
TX Rep. K. Michael Conaway R-11th 202-225-3605
TX Rep. Randy Neugebauer R-19th 202-225-4005
TX Rep. Filemon Vela D-34th 202-225-9901
VT Sen. Patrick Leahy 202-224-4242
WA Rep. Suzan DelBene D-1st 202-225-6311

If you don’t live in one of the states listed above, call your Representative and Senators and ask them to speak to the conferees on behalf of their constituents.

Find out who represents you by going to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Call and ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues. Explain that you’re a constituent and that high-quality food is very important to you. Ask your Congressman to speak to the Farm Bill conferees to urge them to support the Benishek Amendment in the House version of the Farm Bill.

Get the staffer’s email address and follow up by sending them a copy of your comments to FDA (see Take Action #2 below).
 

Take Action #2

 
farfa-deadlineIf you haven’t already submitted comments to the FDA, time is running out! Comments must be received by the agency by Friday, November 15, 2013.

We have a sample letter posted on our website or you can download a Word version for editing.

To submit comments by mail, send to:
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

To submit comments online, go to:

(11/12/13 UPDATE: The FDA’s website has been having problems over the last week. If the site is not functioning when you follow these links, please save your comment on your computer and try again in a few hours. If you have any questions, please send a message to info@farmandranchfreedom.org)

Steps for submitting comments online:

1) We recommend that you write your comment ahead of time and save it on your computer — there is a time limit when using the Federal Register System, and you may get timed out if you write your comment from scratch.

2) If your comment is less than one page, you can copy and paste it into the comment box. If it is longer, you can instead write “see attached” and UPLOAD a separate document, such as a Word or PDF file, with your comments.

3) Uncheck the box that says “I am submitting on behalf of a third party,” so that you do not have to enter an organization name.

4) For category, select “individual consumer” or “private industry.”

5) Click “continue.”

6) Check the box that you have read and understood the statement, and be sure to click “submit comment.” You should be taken to a new screen with a confirmation number.

7) Remember that the Tester-Hagan provision is found in both rules, so if you file comments online, be sure to submit them on both rules.

For sample letter: www.farmandranchfreedom.org/sample-fsma-comments-2013/#sample

For more information on the problems with FDA’s proposed regulations, visit:
www.farmandranchfreedom.org/alert-fda-comments-food-safety-regulations