Throughout the year, Farm Aid lends support to partner organizations and coalitions and their policy or program initiatives by adding our name to sign-on letters addressed to members of Congress or to people with various roles within the Administration. This is an important way for us to stay engaged and up to date on policy actions and issues that affect family farmers and good food, while demonstrating our commitment to ensuring a thriving family farm-centered system of agriculture in this country.
It’s been a particularly busy week for the Farm Aid signature, as we supported three such letters:
- The first was to support an extension of the comment period for the proposed implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The current deadline for comments is mid-May. Considering this is in the midst of planting season, the extent of the proposed rule in terms of sheer pages and scope, and the need to solicit feedback from a range of producers, many of which are not accessible via email, there is clear need for more time. This rule has many implications, and if not done right could severely disadvantage diversified and small and mid-scale producers.
- The second letter related to the sequestration, calling on House, Senate, and White House leaders to work immediately toward a comprehensive deal that averts the sequester and corrects the terrible Farm Bill extension pushed through in the last-minute, closed-door deliberations surrounding the fiscal cliff. While the sequestration went into effect on March 1st, signatories also pledged “to continue work with Congress to complete a full and fair Farm Bill that mitigates disasters, protects natural resources, provides equity and inclusion, constructs a new and economically viable future for agriculture and rural communities, and assures healthy food for all consumers.”
- And the third and final letter had to do with country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules, which have been under attack by meatpackers and the World Trade Organization. These labels allow consumers to know where their food comes from and the opportunity to identify and buy meat from local, U.S. farmers.