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(Food and) Farm Bill Update

Dec. 14, 2007

As of today, the Dorgan-Grassley amendment– the amendment that proposed payment limits for subsidies–failed on the Senate floor, 56-43. That’s 56 votes FOR the amendment, and yet, that counts as failure, oddly enough, based on an agreement made by the two parties that 60 votes would be needed for it to pass.

For many of us, educating ourselves on the Farm Bill has been an education in the evils of subsidies, so the failure of this amendment is a disappointment, if not a complete surprise. It is worth noting, however, that this amendment, like several others, was the source of some debate amongst sustainable ag proponents.

Much in the same way, the School nutrition amendment has also ruffled some feathers. While this amendment puts some major restrictions on what kind of junk food and what size packages can be sold/served in public schools, many are upset because it allows these foods in at all.

Both of these are good object lessons in what a labrynthine tangle this Farm Bill is, and how difficult it is to make change wihin an existing (messed up) system.

That being said!

Despite the failure of Dorgan-Grassley, there are nearly 40 more amendments taking the floor in the upcoming days, including the Tester amendment — which would help make it easier for independent livestock producers to get their animals to market , and an amendment to be offered by Senator Lincoln (boo! hiss!) that would limit eligibility for conservation programs. Now is a terrific time to call your Senators and reiterate your priorities: 202-224-3121

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