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Action of the Week: Defeat the Farm Bill –Unless a Miracle Happens

The Farm Bill is beginning to move in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and your voice is critically needed to help stop provisions that are harmful to health and the environment

>> Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative that they should vote against the Farm Bill unless harmful provisions to health and the environment are removed.

In addition to sending this urgent action on the Farm Bill, consider reaching out to your U.S. Senators and Representative when they return to your state for the Memorial Day holiday. If you’re part of a group, ask for a meeting. If you see them at an event or in town, let them know how important it is to keep the dangerous provisions listed below out of the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2, reported favorably out of the House Agriculture Committee, is stalled, after being defeated on the floor over unrelated immigration legislation. The House bill is a direct attack on organic standard setting, the authority of local governments to restrict toxic pesticides, and the protection of farmworkers, endangered species, and the environment. Without public outcry, it is likely that the bill produced by the Senate Agriculture Committee will be at least as bad as the House bill.

Protect Organic Standards. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) gives the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) broad authority and responsibility to ensure organic integrity. The House version of the Farm Bill contains provisions that will give USDA greater direct and indirect power to allow products and practices that were not intended to be a allowed in organic – hydroponics, poultry houses without real access to the outdoors, and dairy operations without meaningful pasture. The Farm Bill should not:

  • Permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sidestep the NOSB in allowing toxic post-harvest handling substances (sanitizers) to be used in organic production;
  • Change the classification of types of people who may be appointed to the NOSB by adding employees of farmers, handlers, and retailers; and
  • Force consideration of allowing the use of products in organic that are subject to weaker standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Farm Bill should also not contain provisions that:

  • Amend the federal pesticide law to pre-empt local governments from restricting pesticide use on private property within their jurisdictions;
  • Exempt the use of pesticides from the Endangered Species Act, effectively dooming hundreds of endangered species to extinction and making it legal to kill any endangered species with a pesticide at almost any time;
  • Eliminate litigation as a remedy when pesticide decisions threaten endangered species;
  • Eliminate all protections under the Clean Water Act when toxic pesticides are sprayed directly into rivers and streams;
  • Enact the “Pesticide Registration Improvement Act,” providing long-term funding to EPA for expedited processing of pesticide approvals, without accompanying measures to ensure that farmworkers and other pesticide applicators are safe;
  • Weaken restrictions on the use of the highly toxic ozone deplete, methyl bromide; and
  • Provide state pesticide regulatory agencies a secret chance to slow or effectively veto EPA pesticide protections before they are proposed.

>> Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators that they should vote against the Farm Bill unless harmful provisions to health and the environment are removed.

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