Table of Contents

  Gridlock in the Senate

  Dorgan-Grassley and other Amendments
  Veto Threat
  Make Your Voice Heard - Action Alerts

  Become a CFSC Member!


Gridlock in the Senate
Senate Leaders Working on a Compromise


The Farm Bill began on the floor of the Senate  this week, but debate
never really got off the ground due to partisan bickering over the
procedure for offering amendments.  Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), citing
time constraints due to the approaching holiday season and an otherwise
full agenda, proposed limiting the debate to amendments that are
directly relevant to the Farm Bill. Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and
other Republicans are worried that certain amendments they support would
be excluded, such as the potential reform or removal of the estate tax
which, if passed, could do significant harm to small and beginning
farmers by driving up the cost of land. 


A Reid spokesperson said Wednesday that the Majority Leader is trying to
negotiate a list of allowed amendments with Sen. McConnell, to include
five or six from each side. Reports from Farm Policy, Nov. 8th
6%23more-536>  say that Reid might try to force action by filing for a
vote that would end debate and move directly to consideration of the
Dorgan-Grassley amendment. To do this, Reid would need support from 60
out of the 100 Senators. We will keep you updated as this process


Amendment Developments 


As we reported in last week's update
ke-this-your-farm-bill> , the Dorgan-Grassley amendment places limits on
farm payments, saving $1.15 billion over 5 years and reinvesting that
money in conservation, rural development, and nutrition programs. CFSC
learned last week that $50 million of this savings could be used to fund
Community Food Projects from 2012-2017, making the future of this
important program much more secure.

Since a vote could come as early as Tuesday of this week, it is still
important to call your Senators and ask them to vote FOR the
Dorgan-Grassley amendment. You can call the Capitol Switchboard at
202.224.3121 to be connected to your Senators' offices.


83 Amendments and Counting

On Friday, Chairman Harkin released a list of amendments that had been
submitted by 5:00 pm on Thursday. Notably absent is the Lugar-Lautenberg
amendment, which limits direct payments and adds funds to the food stamp
program, though a Lugar aide said that an agreement for its
consideration is being reached. The 83+ amendments were reportedly
released by Sen. Harkin on Friday, though we do not currently see them
on the Agriculture Committee website
c=171401&admin=0&> . Keep watching the
committee website, as they may post them again. (Congress Daily, Nov.


Possible Biofuel Amendment 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Pete Domenici (R-NM)
wants to offer an amendment that would raise the renewable fuels
standard, requiring refiners to produce 36 billion gallons of renewable
fuels - mostly corn-based ethanol - by 2022. Reid has said that he will
not offer it on the floor because such provisions belong in the energy
bill, but some speculate that he will end up allowing it. The bill has
bipartisan support, and Senator Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the
Agriculture Committee, has said that he considers energy issues to be
integrally connected to farm and food policy (Congress Daily, Nov. 8th).


Food Safety Standards

An amendment sponsored by Senator Feinstein (D-CA) seeks to implement
uniform food safety growing standards in response to past E. coli
outbreaks among bagged leafy greens. The Community Alliance with Family
Farmers and other groups are worried about the heavy use of pesticides
advocated in the standards and fear that small scale, traditional family
vegetable growing operations will be hurt. 



Administration Issues Veto Threat


Though debate on the Farm Bill has not truly begun in the Senate, the
Bush administration issued a veto threat on Monday, Nov. 5. The
administration and Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner claim to
oppose the bill in part because of the ways it is funded, and also
because they want to see stricter payment limitations and less spending
overall. However, Senator Grassley (R-IA) wagers that The Senate is
likely to approve its $288 billion farm bill with more than enough votes
to overcome a presidential veto (Des Moines Register
USINESS01> , Nov. 6th).


Make Your Voice Heard!
Action Alerts from Our Allies


Lower the EQIP Limit
The National Family Farm Coalition is working to promote the $240,000
limit on Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) grants. A lower
limit means that there would be more grants available, and it would
target small and medium-sized farms. The $240,000 limit was removed from
Chairman Harkins bill by the Committee, but could still be restored by
an amendment on the floor. Let your Senators know you support lowering
the EQIP payment limit.


Act to Support Small Farms 

The Community Alliance with Family Farms has more information about the
food safety amendment here
and an action alert
t.UpdateLGSS.pdf> .


Dorgan-Grassley and the Livestock Title 

See the Sustainable Agriculture Coalitions two action alerts here
FAA_Dorgan-Grassley_Payment_Limit_Amendment.doc>  and here.


Raise Funding for Food Stamps and TEFAP
Calls needed to improve Food Stamps & The Emergency Food Assistance
Program (TEFAP). Click here
armBill2007%2Falerts%2F10.29.07.html>  to support our friends at the 
Food Research and Action Center
c=171401&admin=0&destination=..%2F..%2F..%2Frelativeurlwarning%2Fwww.fra> . 


Voice Your Support for Reform 

The Center for Rural Affairs
c=171401&admin=0&>  has a page for
grassroots action items that allow you to contact Senator Reid
o%2F2715%2Ft%2F3528%2Fcampaign.jsp%3Fcampaign_KEY%3D13878>  or contact
your own Senators to support real payment limit reform
o%2F2715%2Ft%2F3528%2Fcampaign.jsp%3Fcampaign_KEY%3D13562>  and rural
o%2F2715%2Ft%2F3528%2Fcampaign.jsp%3Fcampaign_KEY%3D14704> .   

Community Food Security Coalition
110 Maryland Ave. NE Suite 307
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202.543.8602


Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resources Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)

For information on organic agriculture production please visit:

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