Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We're making progress but.....

This was in my mail today from Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
One is to write a quick, brief email to your Congress person and/or Senator.
The other is to make a quick comment on a USDA proposal that closes for public comment on December 23rd.
These are fast and quick to do...but have big impact. Hopefully you can get to it.

P.S Anne...I found that link for you for the 10/16/08 post.

Appropriations Process Moving Forward with NAIS!

Last summer, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee included a provision to require USDA to purchase meat products for the School Lunch Program from premises registered with National Animal Identification System (NAIS). After a public outcry, the Senate Appropriations Committee did not include this provision in the Senate version of the bill. Both versions of the bill included funding for NAIS and related programs (WLIC, FAIR, and RFID research) of approximately $14 million, much less than the USDA had requested.

The appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2009 got stuck due to unrelated issues. Now the process is beginning to move again. Although the bills never made it to the floor, Congress is skipping several steps and moving straight to settling differences between the House Subcommittee-passed bill and the Senate full Committee-passed bill in a "staff conference." Staff will come up with a draft final bill in December, and are aiming for the end of this week (Dec. 19). The Congressional members will begin consideration of the appropriations bills in early January.


1. If you live in one of the following states, please call the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member(s) from your state:
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The names and phone numbers of the Subcommittee members are listed below.

2. If you do NOT live in one of the states listed above, please call your own Congressperson. If you do not know who represents you, you can find out at or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 866-340-9281 or 800-417-7666.

When you call, ask to speak to the staffer who handles appropriations. If you get their voice mail, leave the following message, or something in your own words that makes the same points:

My name is _________. I am a constituent [or live in your state, if you aren't in their district]. I am calling about the Agriculture Appropriations bill for 2009. I am opposed to NAIS, and I do not want it to be tied to the School Lunch Program. I ask that you work to keep this provision, which was in the House Subcommittee's version, out of the conference version of the Appropriations bill. Please follow the Senate version, which did not include any such provision. I also urge you to stop all funding for NAIS, particularly any mandatory or coercive programs. Thank you for all of your work.

It is very important to be succinct, brief, and polite! The staffers are extremely busy right now and working under a tight deadline. A short, clear message will be more effective than an in-depth conversation. And if you can, find something positive to say - whether about a specific position the Congressperson has taken recently, or simply a generic "thank you" - please be sure to add that.

U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture:

· Diane Feinstein (D-CA) - 202-224-3841
· Tom Harkin (D-IA) - 202-224-3254
· Richard Durbin (D-IL) - 202-224-2152
· Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - 202-224-2541
· Sam Brownback (R-KS) - 202-224-6521
· Kit Bond (R-MO) - 202-224-5721
· Thad Cochran (R-MS) - 202-224-5054
· Ben Nelson (D-NE) - 202-224-6551
· Byron Dorgan (D-ND) - 202-224-2551
· Arlen Specter (R-PA) - 202-224-4254
· Jack Reed (D- RI) - 202-224-4642
· Tim Johnson (D-SD)- 202-224-5842
· Bob Bennett (R-UT) - 202-224-5444
· Robert Byrd (D-WV) - 202-224-3954
· Herb Kohl, Chairman (D-WI) - 202-224-5653

U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture:

· Sam Farr (D-CA) - 202-225-2861
· Rosa DeLauro, Chair (D-CT) - 202-225-3661
· Allen Boyd (D-FL) - 202-225-5235
· Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) - 202-225-3631
· Jack Kingston (R-GA) - 202-225-5831
· Tom Latham (R-IA) - 202-225-5476
· Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) - 202-225-0773
· Rodney Alexander (R-LA) - 202-225-8490
· Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) - 202-225-4404
· Steven Rothman (D-NJ) - 202-225-5061
· Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) - 202-225-6335
· Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) - 202-225-4146


Comment Period On Proposed Rule for Organic Livestock Ending Soon
Earlier this month, we sent an alert out about the USDA's proposed rule for organic livestock. As stated in that alert, FARFA and several other organizations requested that USDA extend the comment period on its proposed rule for organic livestock because of the complexity and scope of the rule.
The USDA has not responded to that request, and the comment period will close on Tuesday, December 23.
The new USDA rule proposal and its analysis total 26 pages, as published in the Federal Register. The draft rule complies with organic community requests to close loopholes being exploited by factory dairy farms confining their cattle. But it is also a much broader rewrite of federal organic regulations than anyone sought. The new rules, if enacted as currently written, would put many family-scale organic livestock farmers out of business.
Several organic organizations have collaborated on an "alternative" proposed rule that would stop factory farm abuses of the organics label, while not imposing overly burdensome and potentially harmful requirements on organic producers. You can find a copy of the "alternative" rule on the Cornucopia website The website also has a sample letter that you can use for your comments to the USDA.
If you wish to submit comments online, go to the Regulations web portal: Use the search terms "organic pasture." Cornucopia has also offered to hand deliver comments to the USDA if you email them to Cornucopia by noon on December 22 at:
Remember that public comments must be received by the USDA by December 23

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious why only certain states are included on the house subcomittee. Do you happen to know?

I will get my letters out (again) to my congresspeople. I read the U s d a news almost every day and lately they have been really pushing certain N a is aspects through such as veterinarian toolkits to promote N a is, new readers and chips, and various other small details. Unfortunately, they do not include public comment period like they do with other aspects of the work u s d a does. It feels sneaky and it feels like a battle with an entity that is not playing by the rules.

Thanks for the information!

PS posting this under anon so as not to link back for obvious reasons, LOL :)