It’s a Farm Bill year, which means legislators are diligently working on a bill that impacts what food is grown in the US, how it is produced, the livelihoods of those who grow it, and the health of those who consume it. And you have the power to shape it!
The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are in the throws of drafting their own versions of the Farm Bill, after which the full House and Senate will vote on the drafts. That means that now is the time to contact your Members of Congress and tell them to vote for a climate forward, racially just, and fair Farm Bill.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Farm Bill is an important piece of legislation that supports: 1) programs for farmers and their production of food, and 2) programs that address hunger and malnutrition in our communities. It is reauthorized roughly every five years. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is in the powerful position of chairing the Senate Agriculture Committee.
HERE ARE TWO WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT
RACIAL JUSTICE AND CLIMATE ACTION IN THE FARM BILL
1. Racial Justice: This bill, called Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act (LASO) (H.R.3955, S.2340) is trying to make funding from an American Rescue Plan Act program permanent in the Farm Bill, which would provide land, capital and market access to beginning and BIPOC farmers. Here’s a quick action you can take to support this bill.
(NOTE: Lots of specific smaller bills like this will eventually make up the final Farm Bill.)
2. Climate Action: Email or call your Senators and Representative and ask them to make both increased funding and a climate focus a permanent part of working lands conservation programs. This would be the single most important victory for conservation farming in this Farm Bill if it was included!
- Last year as part of the IRS, Congress provided a long-overdue infusion of funding for popular working lands conservation programs. This historic investment will mean USDA can begin to meet the huge farmer demand for voluntary conservation, and that sustainable farmers across the country will have a real shot at accessing working lands conservation programs to help them implement conservation practices. We must be sure (1) this isn’t reversed; (2) the same level of funding is allocated in the Farm Bill.
- This is an unequivocal win for farmers and the planet. Many conservation practices that mitigate greenhouse gasses also help address water quality and wildlife habitat concerns, and can even lead to greater profitability on farms.
FOR MICHIGAN SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES
Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), https://www.stabenow.senate.gov/contact,
DC Phone: (202) 224-4822
Senator Gary Peters (MI), https://www.peters.senate.gov/contact/email-gary
DC Phone: (202) 224-6221
District 12: Representative Debbie Dingell https://debbiedingell.house.gov/contact/ Ypsilanti Office: (734) 481-1100.