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)

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From: Steph Larsen [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [COMFOOD:] Senate Gets Moving - CFSC Farm Bill Update










Farm Bill Action This Week


Senate Takes Up Farm Bill Debate!
Last Thursday night, the Senate reached a compromise on amendments to
the Farm Bill. Under their deal, the Senate will debate up to 40
amendments each political party is allowed to propose 20. Votes are not
expected until late Tuesday, though debate on amendments began Friday,
and will continue this week. See below for a report on what amendments
were presented Friday. Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA)
has said that he hopes to finish the Farm Bill by the end of next week.
Harkin says if the Senate finishes the bill next week, it might be
possible to move to conference (where House and Senate members work out
differences between the two bills) before Christmas, but that it is more
likely a conference report will be completed in January.



Now is a critical time to call your Senators. While CFSC's top
priorities of increased mandatory funding Community Food Projects,
flexibility for geographic preference in school food purchases, and
infrastructure for local food systems are in the Senate bill, your
legislators still need to hear that these priorities are important to
you. This way, if something comes up that threatens these priorities,
your Senators already know what to do.


Please also call your Senators to support amendments that will help
small farmers, rural development, nutrition and conservation!
Particularly important is the Dorgan-Grassley Payment Limits Amendment,
which will be the major floor amendment on the farm bill, and is
expected to be a close vote. The amendment would cap commodity payments
at $250K, close loopholes, and redirect the savings to nutrition
(including Community Food Projects), conservation, rural development and
beginning and minority farmer programs. 

To reach your Senators, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Ask for the staff person who deals with Farm Bill issues, and don't
forget to say you're a constituent!


The Ball Has Begun to Roll...

We will keep you updated as debate moves forward this week. 



Other News in Food Security 


USDA Issues Healthy WIC Food package
Last week, the US Department of Agriculture issued new regulations for
the Women, Infant and Childrens (WIC) nutrition program to provide more
healthful and culturally appropriate foods. New options include a range
of fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk and whole grains in not only
bread, but in tortillas, rice and other grains. USDA also included
important related changes that ensure clients have access to the full
amounts of food theyre entitled to, though implementing these
improvements on the ground will still pose a significant challenge in
many communities with limited access to healthy foods. For more
information, click here
c=171401&admin=0&> .


Capitol Hill Briefing on Healthy Food Access 
Last Wednesday, CFSC joined Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Bennie
Thompson (D-MS), the Northeast Midwest Institute, the National Urban
League, and Policy Link in calling on Congress to pass a Farm Bill that
addresses the lack of affordable and healthy food in the nations
low-income communities. Speakers Angela Glover Blackwell (PolicyLink),
LaDonna Redmond (Institute for Community Resources), Daniel Ross
(Nuestras Raices), and Dr. Gina Villani (the National Urban League)
eloquently urged a large audience, including many House staff members,
to support a Farm Bill that includes $10 million in annual funding for
Community Food Projects, $7 million for the Healthy Food Urban
Enterprise Development program, a no-cost healthy food priority in the
Rural Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, and a Food Access



Duly Noted


Energy Bill Doesnt Pass in Senate 
On Thursday, the House passed the Energy Bill, H.R. 6, which includes a
requirement that utilities generate 15% of their electricity from
renewable sources, and would raise fuel efficiency to 35 miles per
gallon by 2020. The bill came to the Senate on Friday, where it was
brought to a cloture vote to close debate and pass the bill. The cloture
vote did not get enough Republican support to reach the 60 votes it
needed to pass. Its likely that the Senate will try to modify the energy
bill to attain more Republican support and pass the bill. Some speculate
that the renewable electricity provision would likely be cut in a
bipartisan Senate compromise.
Farm Policy, Dec 8th


Alerts From Our Allies


Payment Limit Reform
Soon your Senators will cast a vote on whether to end million-dollar
payments to the nation's largest farms. Click here
o%2F2715%2Ft%2F3528%2Fcampaign.jsp%3Fcampaign_KEY%3D13562>  to tell your
Senators you want strict payment limits.
From the Center for Rural Affairs

Food Stamp Increases
Contact Senators and urge them to finish work on the 2007 Farm Bill (S.
2302) and pass a Farm Bill with the strongest possible nutrition title.
Specifically, urge support for additional investments in the Food Stamp
Program, including in the minimum monthly benefit, in Food Stamp Program
access, in asset and standard deduction improvements, and in TEFAP.  A
toll-free line to the U.S. Capitol (1-800-826-9624) has been made
available by AARP while the Senate Farm Bill is pending. For more
information, click here
armBill2007%2Falerts%2F12.7.07.html> .
From the Food Research and Action Center


Sustainable Energy

The Biomass Energy Crop Transition Assistance provision in the Senate
Farm Bill Energy Title was designed to provide incentives to farmers to
grow bioenergy crops for cellulosic ethanol and other renewable
bioenergy in a sustainable manner.  Restore the Programs ability to help
groups of farmers come together to begin to grow biomass crops for
energy, restore conservation measures removed from the Senate bill, and
target the Program to land where the establishment of perennial
bioenergy crops will result in improved conservation performance. Click
c=171401&admin=0&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sustainableagriculturecoal>  for more information
to support the Harkin-Wyden amendment.

From the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition



Rural Development
A Farm Bill that includes support for non-farm Rural Development will
work for all of rural America. Click here
o%2F2715%2Ft%2F3528%2Fcampaign.jsp%3Fcampaign_KEY%3D13562>  to learn
more and write to your Senators about rural micro-enterprise.
From the Center for Rural Affairs





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