What’s New in Michigan Organic AG? Sept 7-14, 2007
1. URGE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRIORITIES IN THE FARM BILL.
2. Cottage produced farm products-HB 4568
3. Sewage Sludge may be allowed in compost production! Will it end up in compost used on organic farms?
4. INSECT NEWS INFESTS IPODS
Notice of Position Opening
5. Position: Director of Communications at The Rodale Institute
6. Lansing City
Market Supervisor Position available (Salary/with Benefits)
7. . Blandford Nature Center & Mixed Greens are looking to fill several AmeriCorps*VISTA positions.
8The Urban Forager-Workshop Series Sept 22-Oct 20th on Fridays and Saturdays
9. EAT LOCAL, KALAMAZOO!" is a celebration and exploration of local foods (September 23 - 28)
10. Growing Your Business 1 day Conference
On November 2, 2007
11. The future of technologies in the dairy industry…Which path shall we take? The choice is ours. Join the discussion on rbST in most of our milk supply and Kroger’s desire to not allow it.
Dinner Meeting: Tuesday, September 18th beginning @ 4:45 PM
Lunch Meeting: Wednesday, September 19th beginning @ 10:00 AM Call 1-800-233-2999 to RSVP no later than September 14th!!!
12. Study finds organic soil will produce better crops
13. Local Food Events-Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas
September 10, 2007
1. URGE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO SUPPORT
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRIORITIES IN THE FARM BILL
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to hold a tax title markup on September 19 to help pay for the upcoming farm bill. The funding provided by the Finance Committee is the only additional resource for the farm bill other than the savings that can be achieved through cuts and reforms to the existing farm bill baseline. As it stands, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D-MT) has stated he will include $5 billion for a permanent disaster relief fund. He has made no definitive public commitment to fund other farm bill programs, though he and his panel have a variety of ideas under consideration.
Phone calls or faxed letters directed at Senate Finance Committee Members are needed immediately, urging them to fund conservation, new markets, rural development, research, organic, beginning farmer, and other core sustainable agriculture priorities in the next farm bill (in your message to Senators, discuss the two or three sustainable agriculture priorities that are most important to you and your organization). Our chances of winning increased funding levels for sustainable agriculture programs will be determined in large part by the action of the Senate Finance Committee.
The Senators that are members of both the Finance and Agriculture Committees hold particular weight. The dual membership Senators are: Chairman Baucus (D-MT), Conrad (D-ND), Lincoln (D-AR), Stabenow (D-MI), Salazar (D-CO), Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA), Crapo (R-ID), and Roberts (R-KS). Also of note is that in addition to Stabenow, Salazar, and Crapo, other Finance members from strong specialty crop states include Wyden (D-OR), Smith (R-OR), Cantwell (D-WA), Schumer (D-NY), and Snowe (R-ME).
PLEASE CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE TODAY
The message is simple. I am a constituent and I am calling to ask Senator_______________ to vote for a tax bill that funds sustainable agriculture priorities in the farm bill at no less than $10 billion over the next five years. I believe we need to invest in conservation, sustainable and organic farming, rural value-added and entrepreneurial development, beginning farmers and ranchers, and local and regional food systems.
It’s easy to call or write. Please call your Senator’s office (see below for Senate Finance Committee Member’s contact information). Ask the receptionist for the legislative aide who covers agriculture (listed on the chart below). If the aide is unavailable, leave a message with your name, phone number and the message above on the aid’s voice mail or with the receptionist.
If you prefer to write, fax a brief letter with the points above, along with you name and address and contact information, to the fax number listed in the list of Finance Committee members.
The Senate Finance Committee’s vote on the tax title is a critical step before the Senate Agriculture Committee can take up the Farm Bill. With adequate funding provided by the Senate Finance Committee, we can make substantial progress in fostering new farming opportunities, expanding new markets, leveling the playing field for sustainable and organic farmers, increasing food access and improving health, reducing hunger, ensuring fair access for socially disadvantaged farmers, promoting rural entrepreneurship and community development, rewarding farmers to help meet the nation’s most pressing environmental challenges, and investing in sustainable farm-based energy conservation and production systems.
It is Finance Chairman Baucus’ intention to pass farm bill-related tax provisions in the Finance Committee, rather than supply tax offsets to the Agriculture Committee. This makes the situation much more complicated than it was when the House passed its farm bill earlier this summer. In the House, the tax committee supplied the offsets directly to the Agriculture Committee to help pay for the farm bill. In the Senate, they plan to use the tax offsets to pay for new tax expenditures that will serve the same or a similar purpose as programs in the farm bill.
Advocates for rural development, nutrition, agricultural research, conservation, renewable energy and other farm bill areas are generally pleased the Finance Committee is considering tax measures that might address those issues in a positive fashion. However, they are also quite concerned that addressing the tax bill in this fashion will not supply or free up enough funds in the farm bill to allow for robust conservation, nutrition, rural development, research, specialty crop, and energy titles. It is clear that the bare minimum needed – over and above the $5 billion the Chairman is committed to spending on a permanent disaster program – is another $10 billion over five years. Hence it is imperative that Finance offices hear from constituents about the need for at least this level of funding for these priorities. Please call or write today!
Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist
Michigan State University
C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems
303 Natural Resources Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824
For information on organic agriuclture produciton please visit: http://www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu/
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