GE Song and Dance Performed at Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on Biotechnology
Federal regulators defended the safety of biotech foods at a congressional hearing on October 21. The Senate has begun work on a compromise bill that will block states from requiring labels on genetically engineered (GE) products.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, will play a leading role in negotiations on the compromise bill. She has set a goal to get the legislation passed by the Senate before the end of this year.
According to Senator Stabenow, “GMO labeling legislation must prevent the creation of a patchwork of state laws and inform consumers without stigmatizing biotechnology.” Details on what might be in this compromise bill have not been released.
Contact Senators Brown (888-896-6446) and Portman (800-205-6446) and tell them you want the right to know what you eat and feed your family. If their goal is to have a consistent national standard that is not a warning label, ask them to support Senate Bill 511: the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act!
Farmers Make Most Endangered List
The number of farms in the U.S. declined by 400,000 between 1982 and 2012, according to CareerCast, which predicts that farms will decline by an additional 19 percent by 2022.
The article cites technology that allows fewer farmers to do more work. Yet there are many factors that contribute to declining farm numbers, including federal agriculture policy. Take crop insurance subsidies, for example.
The current system of crop insurance subsidies prices beginning farmers with limited resources out of the market by inflating land prices and cash rental rates. It also causes lenders to view beginning farmers as “high risk producers,” limiting their access to capital. Read more about how crop insurance subsidies are hindering beginning farmers.
Mark Your Calendar! November 17 is a Day of Action on Fracking
On November 17, communities across America will hold various events and actions to shine a light on the problems associated with toxic fracking waste and its disposal.
A recent report co-authored by Physicians for Social Responsibility details some of those the risks, including earthquakes, spills, and leaks.
Events are scheduled in at least 15 Ohio counties. To attend an event in your area, contact Frack Free America at (234) 201-8007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are involved in a local food council or other food and farming organization and are interested in signing on to a statement affirming the right to local community self-governance and supporting a moratorium on new injection wells, please contact Amalie at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208 by November 12.
Farm to School Programs Need Your Support Now!
Congress is at work right now on a new version of the Child Nutrition Act, a large bill that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Program and many other important programs for kids. They were supposed to get it done by October 1, but they’ve fallen behind schedule. Tell Congress: we need a new bill, and it needs to have stronger support for farm to school!
Here’s how you can pledge your support to farm to school: Lookup your legislators, then take a deep breath, pick up the phone, dial the DC office number, and share a message like this one with the person who answers the phone:
Hi! My name is [your name] and I’m a constituent [also let them know if you’re a farmer, a parent, a teacher, etc]. I’d like to share a message with [your legislator’s name], please. The message is: please support farm to school efforts in [your community] by supporting the inclusion of the Farm to School Act of 2015 in the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization! We are counting on you to stand with our community’s farmers and kids on this important issue.
Drop us a line and let us know after you’ve made the call and share any feedback from your experience!
OEFFA Members Meet with Senate Staffer
OEFFA members and Policy Program Coordinator, Amalie Lipstreu, met with Senator Sherrod Brown’s Central Ohio Regional Director and Senator Portman’s Southwest Ohio Regional Director last month.
The topic was the pending Senate GE food labeling bill. Everyone shared information about who they are, why GE issues matter to them and asked the Senators to support the public’s right to know about GE foods.
Beyond concerns about the safety of GE foods, members talked about the increase in herbicide use, the toxicity of herbicides such as glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup recently classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization), and the impact of industrialized GE farming on organic and sustainable farmers.
With the Senate aiming to pass a GE labeling (or non-labeling) bill before the end of this year, it is important to keep the pressure on both Senators Brown (888-896-6446) and Portman (800-205-6446). Please take a few minutes to contact their offices and tell them you are counting on them to represent you and your family—not the interests of biotech corporations and chemical manufacturers.
Ohio State to Study Impact of Pipelines on Crop Productivity
With two new interstate pipelines currently under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), agricultural land will be impacted by construction and operation of these lines. Steve Culman, an Ohio State University Extension specialist in soil fertility, is starting a pilot study to document the effects of pipelines on crop productivity over several years.
Steve is looking for 20-30 farmers with pipelines in their fields to study over a period of three to five years. Farmers will be identifying two similar areas on the farm, provide yield map files from this year’s harvest in those areas, conduct soil and tissue samples, and share yield maps during the study period.
If you are interested in participating, you can reach Steve at (330) 263-3787 or email@example.com.