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How You Can Help Create a Better Farm Bill

We know that Congress isn't always a champion of the public interest -- but here's an opportunity to see that they do things right.

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Have you noticed that when it comes to food policy, the U.S. Congress isn't always an unflinching champion of the public interest?

Today, you have an opportunity to do something about that.

Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced an amendment to the 2013 farm bill that would, for the first time ever, demonstrate Senate support for labeling of foods with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.  More than 90 percent of the American public supports labeling of GE foods. Might it be time for the U.S. Congress to respond to the demands of the American people?

You can send a message now by clicking here, telling your senators that you stand with Senator Boxer's amendment, and you hope they will, too

And there's more you can do.

Every five years, the U.S. Congress allocates nearly a trillion dollars in food stamp (SNAP) spending and agribusiness subsidies through the massive "Farm Bill."

Today, you have an opportunity to impact where all that money goes.

Do you want to stop your tax dollars from subsidizing factory farms and genetically engineered high fructose corn syrup? Do you want to see local, organic farmers and natural foods have a fighting chance in the marketplace?

The U.S. Senate is debating amendments to the draft Farm Bill this week. It's a complicated and bureaucratic process, and predictably, all of the lobbyists for Monsanto and big agribusiness  are out in full force.

But if you are from the United States, there is one simple action you can take today, that will have a big impact.

Call your senator's office. Tell them that you are a constituent and you want them to support amendments that are currently up for discussion in the U.S. Senate.

You might get them to support the Shaheen-Toomey payment limit amendment #926 that would place long-overdue limits of $50,000 on crop insurance premium subsidies for America's wealthiest large-scale farmers. Or ask them to support the Coburn-Durbin amendment #953 that would reduce crop insurance premium subsidies for farmers with incomes over $750,000/year.

Why support these amendments? At a time of record farm incomes and stark fiscal realities, now is the time to ask the wealthiest farmers to pay a little more of their fair share of the costs of doing business.

Find your senator's name and number here. Or if you already know their name, you can just call them at the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

There's a lot more at stake in the Farm Bill, including support for organic agriculture, investments in local and sustainable food systems, critical conservation efforts that help farmers protect our air, soil, and water, and dozens of other amendments. If you want to take further action, go to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's continually updated "take action" page and sign up for action alerts,  by clicking here.

The impact of the choices made in Washington this week will have profound impact on millions of lives.

They say that all that it takes for the forces of evil to triumph, is for the forces of good to do nothing. If you want to be a force for good in the world of food policy, this is a great time to take action.

This story first appeared on the Huffington Post.

 
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