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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

Help Stop the Secret Farm Bill

Friday, November 18, 2011

Industrial agriculture’s lobbyists and a handful of their powerful Congressional allies have been working overtime to skirt the usual democratic process and write a new five-year farm bill behind closed doors. They plan to slip it into law through the Congressional Super Committee charged with cutting the federal budget deficit.

Supposedly details will be released any minute.

The deliberations have been occurring in private and details are scarce, but a secret farm bill written by politicians from states enriched by federal subsidies is certain to shortchange conservation interests, local and organic food advocates, needy Americans who depend on food stamps and average citizens who would like the farm bill to do more than bankroll industrial-scale commodity farming.

In an effort to engage eaters and good food advocates across the country on this scandalous subversion of the democratic process, the Environmental Working Group has produced a television ad entitled “Stop the Secret Farm Bill.” The 30-second spot begins airing today (Nov. 18) on KCCI Channel 8, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa during the 10 p.m. news broadcast, and on CNN in the Washington D.C. market.

By all accounts, it appears that the Agriculture Committees will continue a grossly inequitable system that puts tax dollars in the hands of largest and most profitable farm operations that grow commodity crops such as corn and rice while shortchanging healthy food, small farmers and the environment. Our hope is that the message in our “Secret Farm Bill” ad will resonate with those wanting a better food and farm system for all Americans and persuade Congress to restore transparency and democracy to the farm bill process.

Editorial writers from California to the heart of corn country have been excoriating the secret farm process as well:

Des Moines Register – “Secrecy is Not the Way to Craft a New Federal Farm Bill”

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111117/OPINION03/311170020/Secrecy-is-not-the-way-to-craft-a-new-federal-farm-bill

Bakersfield Californian ­– “Open Public Debate a Must for Farm Bill”

http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/x1454911243/Open-public-debate-a-must-for-farm-bill