1. House leadership has disrespected the public’s democratic right to provide input on our national food policies
- The process the House Rules Committee has undertaken is offered under a closed rule, meaning members (legislators) are not allowed to offer amendments to the 2008 extension. This takes away the voice of their constituents, meaning YOU!
- The proposed extension was released quietly, with no public hearings or opportunity for committee deliberation, and was a surprise for many with a legitimate stake in creating a fair and responsible reauthorization of the Farm Bill.
2. The drought crisis has prompted politics that are playing out in a most distasteful manner
- The national drought crisis has created an overwhelming need for disaster assistance, providing cover for legislators/politicians to make unsettling and drastic cuts to other important programs not directly connected to drought relief.
- Legislators are using the legitimate concern for drought assistance to push through a bill that negatively affects many other programs.
- Overall, the proposed extension disregards reforms previously agreed upon by both the Full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee, such as meaningful limits on direct payments to farmers. The extension spends another $5 billion on direct payments.
- To pay for drought assistance, the extension makes deep, unnecessary cuts to conservation programs, which are part of the solution to reducing occurrences of future droughts.
3. The extended Farm Bill proposed by the House pits allies against each other
- By making drastic cuts to many small programs that were fought hard for in the 2008 Farm Bill, organizations who are similarly aligned and would normally be advocating for the same programs are being pitted against each other to fight over a small amount of funding.
- Legislators are using of the drought as an opportunity to divide and conquer.
4. All the following innovative and important programs would be stripped of their mandatory funding, and given discretionary funding:
- No mandatory funding, however small amount pending in appropriations bill:
o Rural Energy for America Program
o Organic Data Initiative
o Small Watershed Rehabilitation
o Value-Added Producer Grants
- Funding zeroed out, and program eliminated:
o Voluntary Public Access
o Organic Research and Extension
o Specialty Crop Research initiative
o Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
o Biobased Markets Program
o Biorefinery Assistance
o Repowering Assistance
o Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels
o Biodiesel Fuel Education Program
o Biomass Research and Development
o Biomass Crop Assistance Program
o Farmers’ Market Promotion Program
o National Clean Plant Network
o National Organic Certification Cost Share Program
o Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
o Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program