Action Alert: Speak Up on Farm Bill

 
Updated January 22, 2014:

Congress continues to get closer to a final Farm Bill, and word is that Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is in trouble. We need your help!

The latest proposal to undermine COOL would allow meatpackers to put “product of North America” on the label, replacing labels that actually identify a meat product’s country of origin. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did many things — many of them bad — but it did not create a new country! Simply put, a NAFTA label is not COOL.

Who knows what bad proposal they’ll come up with next? The solution is simple: keep COOL just the way it is so that consumers know what country their food was produced in.

Negotiations also continue on the issue of fair livestock markets (the GIPSA rules) and the food safety rules. See the More Information section below for the details.

The negotiations aren’t over yet, so if you have not yet called, please call today to make sure your voice is heard on these issues! You can find out who to call and what to say in the Take Action section (scroll down or click here).

Thank you to everyone who has already called their legislators — your voice matters!

 

More Information


What’s at stake?

1) Country of Origin Labeling: We know where our clothes are made, so why shouldn’t we know what country our food comes from? In 2008, thanks to the work of many farming and consumer organizations, Congress required Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for produce and meats.

But the big meat packers don’t want to have to tell you where your food comes from, and they convinced the House to include a provision in the House version of the Farm Bill that guts COOL. Tell the conference committee to protect COOL and reject any changes!

2) Livestock competition rules: We also succeeded in getting provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill that would rein in some of the abuses of the big meatpackers and provide fair, competitive markets for livestock producers. That provision was later undercut, but the GIPSA section of USDA did adopt some rules that provide at least limited protections, under a law called the Packers & Stockyards Act.

But, again at the bidding of the meatpackers, the House version of the Farm Bill would undermine even these limited protections. Tell the conference committee to protect the GIPSA rules for fair livestock markets and reject any changes!

3) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations: The FDA’s proposed regulations under FSMA would be disastrous for many small and sustainable farmers. While the FDA’s recent announcement that it will issue revised proposed regulations is an excellent step, we need to make sure that the new proposed regulations are based on sound science and economics.

FARFA led a coalition of 39 farming and consumer organizations in sending a letter urging Congress to include the Benishek provision in the Farm Bill, which would require the FDA to do more analysis before enforcing rules under FSMA. Click here to read the letter. Please add your voice to tell the conference committee to require FDA to do the proper groundwork before issuing food safety regulations!


Please speak up for our farmers and food producers today!


 

Take Action

 
farfa-take-actionThe 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:

  • Preserve Country of Origin Labeling & oppose any changes;
  • Preserve the GIPSA rules for fair livestock markets & oppose any changes;
  • Support the Benishek provision to require FDA to do an analysis of both the science and the costs before implementing regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR ON THE FARM BILL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE IN THE FOLLOWING STATES (click here if you’re not in these 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.

1) 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.

2) Call and ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues. Explain that you’re a constituent and that protecting family farms is very important to you. Ask your Congressman to speak to the Farm Bill conferees to urge them to:

  • Preserve Country of Origin Labeling & oppose any changes;
  • Preserve the GIPSA rules for fair livestock markets & oppose any changes;
  • Support the Benishek provision to require FDA to do an analysis of both the science and the costs before implementing regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Photo Credit: ** RCB ** via Compfight cc