Our nation's food & farm policy
is on the wrong track.
It's time to get it right.

We have the power to change this - call your Senators today!

Take just five minutes today – that’s right, just five! – for a better future for our nation's food and farmers.  The US Senate is debating a new 2013 Farm Bill this week and your Senator needs to hear from you. While you’re on your lunch break, out in the field, on your way to a meeting, or headed to class, join us in making a unified statement to the Senate:  it's time for a better farm bill, and for a more sustainable future for our nation's food & farms!

Step 1: Dial the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with your Senators.
Step 2: Share a message like one of the several below with the person who answers the phone.
Step 3: Help us spread the word - and then give yourself a hand! You're done!

What's at stake - and what to say - on the issues:

- Making Long Overdue Subsidy Reforms
- Investing in Beginning Farmers, Local Food, and Local Communities
- Leveling the Playing Field for Farmers
- Protecting our Air, Soil, and Water
- Supporting Innovation for a Sustainable Future


We won this one thanks to your help!

The Coburn-Durbin amendment passed last week. But all of the rest of the amendments below still need your call!

It’s long past time for Congress to rein in crop insurance subsidies – which are currently uncapped, untargeted, and without limits. Farmers need a working safety net, and this common-sense amendment will save taxpayers over 1.3 billion dollars and ensure maximum support goes only to those who need it, not a handful of mega-farms.

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Senator to support SA 953 during floor debate this week.  This amendment will make long-overdue common sense reforms to crop insurance subsidies and save taxpayers over $1.3 billion dollars while still maintaining our farmers' safety net.  Thank you.

Wherever there’s local food, there are farmers feeding communities and creating jobs. It’s a win-win for farmers and for people like you and me. But we’ve got so far to go – and this week we have a chance to take a huge stride forward for a better future for our nation’s food & farms. There are three key amendments up for debate this week that will have a huge impact - one from Senator Brown (D-OH), one from Senator Udall (D-NM), and one from Senators Casey (D-PA), Harkin (D-IA), and Johanns (R-NE).

On BEGINNING FARMERS:  new farmers need access to land, credit, and capital to get their hands in the dirt, and Senators Casey, Harkin, and Johann's amendment #986 will help them better access their #1 biggest need – financial capital to launch and sustain their farm businesses. It authorizes a microloan program tailored for the needs of beginning and military veteran farmers and ranchers.

On SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMERS (Including farmers of color and military veterans):  Senator Tom Udall’s (D-NM) amendment #1055 restores funding to a historic program – the Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Program (also known as Section 2501) - that assists our nation’s historically underserved farmers.  Senator Udall’s amendment funds this critical program that provides training and technical assistance to African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, and Latino farmers and ranchers, as well as military veterans who are farmers.

On LOCAL FOOD AND MARKET DEVELOPMENT:  Senator Brown's amendment #1118 increases funding for a host of programs that directly help farmers and communities put solutions into action on the ground – including Community Food Projects, the Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Value-Added Producer Grants Program, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. These programs make it possible for low-income seniors to access fresh, healthy produce from local farmers. They make it possible for farmers to expand their operations into new products – like freezing fresh veggies for schools to use during winter months. They make it possible for communities to build their own food solutions from the ground up – like urban farms, mobile groceries, and youth-led healthy eating programs.

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Senator to support the Casey-Harkin-Johanns Beginning Farmer Microloan amendment #986, the Brown local food and market development amendment #1118, and the Udall socially disadvantaged farmers amendment #1055 during floor debate this week.  Please support these amendments - they are critical to building a better future for our state's food and farms.  Thank you.”

The meat industry giants – just 4 corporations control over 80% of our nation’s beef, for example – have successfully blocked completion of common-sense US Department of Agriculture rules to give farmers a fair shake in the marketplace and are now moving to strip farmers of even the most basic legal protection against abuse at the hands of the large processors who dominate the industry.  This amendment establishes a special counsel office at USDA dedicated to making sure that fair competition rules are enforced.

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Senator to support Senator Grassley's Special Counsel for Livestock Competition amendment #969 during floor debate this week.  This amendment will help level the playing field between independent livestock producers and the large corporate packers and processors.  It provides basic protections for our state's livestock producers by establishing a special counsel office at USDA dedicated to making sure that fair competition rules are enforced,. Thank you.”

Farm Bill conservation programs help farmers and ranchers put in place smart resource-saving measures on their farm – a win-win for the farmer and for protecting our shared air, soil, and water resources. Right now, organic farmers face a much lower limit than conventional farmers on what they can do with one of those programs - EQIP. Senators Leahy (D-VT), Cowan (D-MA), and Collins's (R-ME) amendment #1093 will remove an unfair restriction on organic farmers who want to use a key conservation program - the Organic Initiative in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (known as EQIP).

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Senator to support the Leahy-Cowan-Collins EQIP Organic Initiative Payment Limit Elimination amendment #1093.  This amendment removes an unfair restriction on organic farmers who want to use this key conservation program and helps encourages farmers to our protect air, soil, and water resources.  Thank you.”

Classical seed breeding – and holding seed varieties in the public trust – is as old as agriculture itself, and is the source of the most-productive, best-adapted seeds in the world. Corporate giants like Monsanto are trying to privatize as many seeds as possible – so it’s critical that researchers at our public universities can access public research dollars they need to continue developing and improving the best possible seeds for farmers – and for home gardeners! This amendment will help keep a wide array of plant seeds in the public domain by ensuring that researchers can develop publicly held seeds for farmers – think the honeycrisp apple or non-GMO corn – instead of corporate-controlled privately held varieties that take control away from farmers.

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Senator ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Senator to support Senator Tester's Seeds and Breeds amendment during floor debate this week.  This amendment will help researchers at our public universities access the public research dollars they need to continue developing and improving the best possible publicly owned seeds for farmers. Thank you.”


Making change takes all of us. Help us spread the word:


This effort is being led by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition