Please call Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown today and tell him to protect funding for organic agriculture programs in the 2012 budget. Senators only have until Friday, May 27th so it’s important that you call today!
Congress is working on its budget negotiations for 2012. The House 2012 Appropriations Bill currently being debated would cut research, conservation, and organic programs, which provide crucial resources for organic and sustainable farmers.
The Senate is developing their budget right now, and it needs to offer a clear alternative to the current House bill.
- Under the House Appropriations Bill, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would be cut by 10 percent relative to FY 2011. The National Organic Program (NOP) will share in these cuts.
- The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) would be funded at $2 million, down from the FY 2010 level of $2.8, and up from the zeroing out it received for FY 2011.
- Farm bill conservation funding would be cut by nearly $1 billion. The bill would even force the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to break contracts it has already signed with farmers enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program!
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) funding would be cut by $3 million. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would be cut by $40 million.
- The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program would be cut by $6.4 million. The Rural Micro-Lending program would be completely eliminated.
- Doing the bidding of multinational meat and poultry conglomerates, the bill forbids the USDA from using any funds to write or publish the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule to make livestock and poultry markets fairer and more competitive, a rule Congress directed USDA to write as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Senator Stabenow heads on the subcommittee that decides agricultural funding levels.
Your quick call to Senator Stabenow today is crucial to ensure organic and conservation program funding in 2012.
Senator Stabenow can be reached at 202-224-4822.
The Points to Make are Simple:
- As a constituent of Senator Stabenow, I’m asking that she please support funding for critical research, organic, and conservation programs in 2012 that are important to organic agriculture.
- Please fund the National Organic Program at $9.89 million. Organics is the fastest growing agricultural sector in the U.S., and organics need full funding to respond to growing consumer demand.
- Please fund the Organic Transitions Integrated Research Program (ORG) at $5 million, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (also known as ATTRA) at $3 million, both of which help meet farmers’ research and information needs.
- The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and other conservation programs must retain maximum funding to support rural economies and protect soil and water quality.
- The cuts proposed are unjust, threatening economic recovery in rural communities struggling to create jobs, find new markets, and renew economic life.
To learn more about how the House 2012 Appropriations Bill would slash conservation, organic, rural development, and research programs, go to http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/houe-ag-fy12-approps-bill/.
Your calls make a difference—THANK YOU!
C. S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Outreach Specialist for Organic Vegetable and Field Crops
303 Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI 48824
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