Farm Bill Update: Countdown to the Midterm Election
Posted On: October 22, 2018
by Ben Feldman, FMC Policy Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now 22 days past the expiration date of the 2014 Farm Bill, and with both chambers of Congress now on recess through the midterm elections, critical food and agriculture programs remain in limbo. The hope is still that Congress can pass a farm bill during the “lame duck session” after the midterms and before the new year, but some members of congress are expressing concern that hurricane relief efforts could further complicate the process.
Last Monday, a group of DC based advocacy organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (of which FMC is a member) came together to call for a farm bill based primarily off of the Senate version, before the end of the current legislative session. Here at FMC we echo this perspective. The Senate Farm Bill contains key provisions that would strengthen the Farmers Market Promotion Program and allow markets to use wireless SNAP machines at more than one market.
How Can You Take Action?
Thanks to all our members who have carried the message to Congress that we need a strong farm bill, and that we need it now. Please take a moment to contact (or contact again!) your federal legislators to tell them that the farm bill matters, and farmers markets need the Senate provisions to prevail.
One fantastic example of how farmers, market leaders, and local food champions are advocating for a farm bill that strengthens local food programs is Farmer Clay Oliver’s open letter to Georgia Congressman Austin Scott. Posted to the Georgia Farmers Market Association’s website, the letter outlines how a Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) helped to grow his business at market, and asked the Congressman to support the newly proposed Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) — a program designed to help regional and local food systems prosper.
An open letter not only can be shared in local newspapers, blogs, and websites, but can also be posted across social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, providing the opportunity to tag federal lawmakers with your message, and encourage other like-minded individuals to share (and be inspired by) your post as well. Use Farmer Oliver’s letter as an example, and think about how you can write and share an open letter of your own!
(If you write an open letter, we’d love to see it. Email it to: email@example.com)
Don’t Forget to Vote!
Election Day is only 15 days away. While it is extremely important to voice our priorities and concerns directly with elected officials, participation in the midterm election is just as vital to our local food system. Research the candidates, make a plan, take a friend, and get out to vote on Tuesday, November 6th! Click here to find your polling place.
Support Our Work!
FMC works hard to advocate for farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers. Donate $10 or more to FMC today and get an ‘I VOTE for Farmers’ sticker to wear to the polls on November 6th! Click here to give.