The Food and Farm Bill is up for hearings in the full house agriculture committee this week. The new Farm Bill that the committee is hearing is basically the same as the old Farm Bill — continuing the subsidies of high fructose corn syrup for Archer Daniels Midland and Coca Cola, making Americans fat and sick, and trashing the environment (more background here). Two California legislators have key roles to play in fostering reform, and you can encourage them to do the right thing.
More on the flip.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Northern San Joaquin Valley) chairs a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Horticulture and Organic Agriculture section of the bill. He has been trying to shift resources from the subsidies of corn, soy, wheat, rice, and cotton, to policies that would have better results for California’s produce and organic farmers. He’s had no success so far. Please encourage him to keep at it, and to advocate for policies that favor healthy food, local and organic farming, and environmental conservation. A sample letter from the California Coalition of Food and Farming is here.
However, the agriculture committees are stacked with members of a handful of midwestern states that benefit from the current subsidy regime. It’s not unlikely that the committee will forward a bill that is “more of the same.” That is where Nancy Pelosi’s leadership is critical.
Speaker Pelosi controls the debate process on the House floor. She can decide whether to call for vote on the Farm Bill that comes out of committee, or whether to allow amendments and substantial floor debate to transform the bill on the house floor. There is very broad opposition to current policy and support for reform, outside the Agriculture committee. Over 200 legislators have sponsored alternative Farm Bill Reform proposals such as the Local Food and Farm Support Act sponsored by Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer.
Please urge Speaker Pelosi to support debate and reform. The California Coalition for Food and Farming has a sample letter asking Speaker Pelosi to do the right thing for public health, the environment, local/organic agriculture, and California.