FARM BILL AMENDMENTS - Ask Your U.S. Congressional Representative to Support non-GMO Agriculture, Small Farmers and Local Food!
The U.S. House is debating its version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 1947). Over 200 amendments have been introduced, including several to protect farmers from burdensome food safety regulations and prevent the unauthorized release of genetically modified crops.
Use the online petition to fax a message to your U.S. Representative urging support of:
1. Amendment #214 by Benishek to protect farmers from unnecessarily burdensome regulations;
2. Amendment #115 by Kaptur to prevent large companies from retaliating against livestock and poultry producers who speak out about unfairness in the marketplace;
3. Amendment #136 by Lowey to address contamination by genetically engineered crops; and
4. Amendment #176 by Pingree to support small-scale meat processors who are vital to restoring our local food systems.
Follow up with a call your U.S. Representative as soon as possible.
It takes just a couple of minutes, and it truly does make a difference!
TODAY: Sign the Petition or join the Citizens Assembly the day of the oral hearing for OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto!
When: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:00 am
Where: Southern District Court, New York City
Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse
500 Pearl St.
New York, NY 10007-1312
The lawsuit OSGATA (Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association) et al vs. Monsanto was filed on behalf of 300,000 organic and non-GMO farmers and citizens to seek judicial relief in “protect[ing] themselves from ever being accused of infringing patents on transgenic (GMO) seed”. The judge has requested and agreed to hear oral argument in orders to make a decision of whether or not to allow the farmers’ case to move forward in the courts after Monsanto filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. We are encouraging supporters of farmers’ rights to grow food without fear and intimidation to assemble outside the courtroom on January, 31 in a peaceful manner to support the farmers in their claims, recognizing that these injustices affect us all and that this case is deserving of the court’s time and attention.
Click Here to RSVP to attend the Citizen’s Assembly.
Click Here to Sign Our Petition supporting Family Farmers
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Proven in the Jungles of Vietnam as Part of Agent Orange!
Dow Chemical is seeking USDA approval for a genetically engineered (GE) version of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, an herbicide that was used in the formulation of the highly toxic defoliant Agent Orange. Agent Orange (half 2,4-D by composition) was extensively used in Vietnam by the military to destroy forests and crops.
Dow’s Christmas gift for America was formally announced, by the USDA, in the December 27, 2011 edition of the Federal Register. If the federal government wants to bury something in the news, and burn up part of our window to publicly respond, you can bet they’ll do it around the holidays. The public has 60 days to comment on Dow’s petition for deregulation. LEARN MORE...
As 2011 comes to an end, we are revving up our important campaign to Safeguard Organic Standards: getting genetically engineered ingredients out of certified organic baby food, so...
Since 2006, Martek Biosciences, owned by multinational biotech giant DSM, has been selling its DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), synthesized versions of the essential fatty acids that are naturally found in breast milk, to companies manufacturing organic infant formula, baby food, other food products.
Now the National Organic Program says the 2006 approval was illegal and they're conducting a formal review of the Martek products for the first time. READ MORE...
Tell organic baby food brands to stop using GMOs!
In 2012, the Institute for Responsible Technology and a coalition of groups will seek to protect infants and babies from GM baby food and infant formula, and raise awareness of parents nationwide about the importance of raising children on non-GMO food. If you wish to be involved with this outreach effort, join Jeffrey this Tuesday. He will share our ideas and key talking points, solicit feedback, answer questions, and discuss ways you can get involved.
To register for this free webinar, please sign up at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/172743024
The Farm Bill, which is renewed every five years (2008 was the most recent) could reach the legislature a year earlier than it should.
The so-called super committee, whose so-called job is to cut $1.2 trillion from the national deficit, has as their deadline November 23, the day before Thanksgiving. The Farm Bill is on the chopping block. If the Farm Bill passes in its current form, commodity crops will continue to receive support through subsidies, and they may receive additional insurance as well. Funding for conservation and nutrition would be reduced or eliminated. Please let your representatives know that you are opposed to the "secret farm bill" and support the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act.
Small farmers and urban poultry owners alike are threatened by the USDA's new proposal for animal identification. The agency has proposed a rule that imposes costs and paperwork burdens on farmers, ranchers, backyard poultry owners, sale barns, vets, and state agencies in order to track animals that cross state lines.
The proposed rule is a solution in search of a problem. The USDA has failed to identify the specific problem or disease of concern, and the real focus of the program is helping the export market for the benefit of a handful of large corporations. LEARN MORE / TAKE ACTION
Nanotechnology is a powerful new set of technologies for observing, taking apart and reconstructing nature at the atomic and molecular level. This level is measured in nanometers and 1 nanometer (nm) is equal to 1 billionth of a meter. For reference, a molecule of sugar measures 1 nanometer (nm), which is about as big in relation to an apple as the apple is in relation to the earth. A human hair is huge by comparison, about 50,000 nm wide.
Nano means more than just small; the radical reduction in size means that seemingly ordinary materials may behave completely differently than in their larger bulk or macro form. In recent years, nanoscale ingredients have been incorporated into more than 1,300 consumer products like baby bottles, cutting boards, food containers, food packaging, computer parts, curling irons, hair brushes, cosmetics and sunscreens. However, studies show that the unique properties of nanomaterials can create unpredictable and potentially hazardous risks to human health and the environment.
Currently, companies do not have to identify or test their products for containing nanoscale ingredients and they don’t have to submit nano-specific safety data. In the absence of labeling and nano-specific safety data, neither consumers nor the EPA know what products are using nanotechnology and if those products are safe.
Tell EPA to begin protecting consumers now – don’t put off public safety any longer!
For decades, family farmers and ranchers who raise livestock have endured abuses from corporate giants that control the market. But, you can help level the playing field for independent farmers and ranchers.
Today, just four companies own 83.5% of the beef market, 66% of the hog industry and 58.5% of the broiler chicken industry. These giant meatpackers and poultry processors have enjoyed unchecked market power, allowing them to control prices, issue unfair contracts with farmers and bully, intimidate and abuse farmers who stand up against corporate power.
Click here to tell your U.S. Senators it's time to stand firm against corporate greed and abuse. Tell them it's time to stand up for family farmers and ranchers and support the USDA in protecting them.
A new rule is being proposed for spinach, lettuce, and cabbage by a “marketing agency” that doesn’t have food safety jurisdiction or staff. But that’s not the worst of it.
The most powerful “Big Ag” players in the leafy green industry are pushing the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA) despite the fact that we already have food safety rules. We passed them last year in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Because of your input from the grassroots we made sure those food safety rules included alternative compliance measures appropriate for small and medium-sized farms. This new Marketing Agreement, dominated by Big Ag, could do an end run around these protections, and keep the family farm voice out of the process.
Oh, and there is even worse news to report…
After the E. Coli outbreak in 2006, these same industry associations in California came together to create a “marketing agreement” to help improve their image. Without any scientific basis, the CA agreement prompted the indiscriminate and unnecessary removal of conservation buffers and wildlife habitat deemed to be “incompatible with food safety.” Small family farmers also had many problems trying to comply with drastic rules designed for large-scale operations. The CA model illustrates just how ineffective and reckless this tool can be.
Now they want to take this failed model to the national level.
This confusing and duplicative rule could effectively shut small and mid-sized farmers out of the leafy greens market.
Tell the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to withdraw their unnecessary and confusing rule.
Thank you for taking action to protect our family farmers.
On May 11, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the first-ever genetically engineered (GE), drought tolerant corn, MON 87460. APHIS is currently soliciting comments on this unprecedented GE crop, due July 11, 2011. The Center for Food Safety has begun reviewing the Draft EA, and, our analysis shows that USDA has not adequately analyzed or accounted for the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of this novel crop.
As with previous GE crop approvals, USDA’s proposal fails to comply with national environmental law, making APHIS’s approval illegal.
- Fails to adequately consider and protect organic consumers
- Fails to recognize farmers and consumers have the right to choose non-GE
- Fails to analyze the adverse environmental impacts of additional corn cultivation enabled by MON87460
- Fails to assess the environmental impacts of converting Conservation Reserve Program land to MON87460
- Fails to analyze the benefits of drought-tolerant organic corn as an alternative to MON87460
- Fails to use sound science and relies excessively on Monsanto data
Tell USDA to obey the law! Further analysis and environmental protections are necessary before any approval should be considered.
The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has adopted a government funding bill that if passed would turn back decades of progress to achieve a more sustainable and just food and farming system
This 2012 bill makes a second round of steep cuts to conservation, extension, research, renewable energy, and rural development programs. And just like in fiscal year 2011, none of the cuts are directed at crop subsidies, the largest federal agricultural spending item. Learn more...
If passed this bill will endanger our nation’s supply of clean water, increase the already alarming levels of soil erosion, and sell our farmers out to multinational meat and poultry conglomerates ... to name just a few.
ACT NOW! Tell the Senate to Reject this Reckless Bill
How Do You Feel About Having A Nuclear Power Plant A Few Miles Upstream And Upwind From Where You Live And Work?
June 2 Public Meeting on Indian Point:
Tell the NRC What Really Matters
TELL THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION WHY INDIAN POINT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK! WE CAN REPLACE THE POWER - WE CAN’T REPLACE THE LIVES.
Join Riverkeeper on Thursday, June 2 and tell the NRC in person what you think about Indian Point. It’s the public’s last chance before the relicensing hearing in the fall to make sure the NRC, and our local elected officials, hear loud and clear about our concerns following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The NRC has gamed the system long enough! It’s time for us to turn up the pressure on the NRC at this critical time, and the best way to do that is to show up and speak out!
* Americans in Japan within 50 miles of the Fukushima nuclear reactor have been advised to evacuate. Why, then, are Americans living with only a 10-mile evacuation zone?
* With 20 million people living within 50 miles of Indian Point, is a 50 mile evacuation even conceivable?
* With the spent fuel pools outside containment structures at Fukushima remaining out of control, many are now questioning the
safety of spent fuel rods at Indian Point.
* Would leaks from the plant impact Rockland’s drinking water if plans to desalinate the Hudson for drinking water move ahead?
* How crucial is the power from Indian Point?
* What can we do to shut the plant down?
Longtime environmental advocates Marilyn Elie, Susan Shapiro, and Maureen Ritter will moderate the discussion.
For more information, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845 358-3386.
Send Your Comments to the National Organic Standards Board
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which advises the Secretary of Agriculture on organic policy and rulemaking, is considering several changes to the USDA’s organic standards that would water down organics, catering to corporate interests.
We cannot allow corporate-backed members of the NOSB to chip away at the integrity of the label. LEARN MORE AND TAKE ACTION
Indian Point also has the highest population density surrounding a nuclear plant in the United States, with 20 million people living within a 50 mile radius. It is also the plant with an evacuation plan that former Federal Emergency Management Agency head James Lee Witt called unworkable, in a 2003 report commissioned by New York Governor George Pataki.
Think about how all these factors could work together. Then, CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION. We all deserve better from the NRC!
In conventional foods, the government allows the use of toxic pesticides, genetically engineered crops, and novel synthetic additives that have not been tested for safety. Organic foods offer an alternative, but some pro-corporate members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the panel set up by Congress to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic standards, would like to open the door to all synthetic additives to be added freely to organic foods—as long as they have, theoretically, nutritional value.
READ MORE, TAKE ACTION...
In the early hours of Saturday, February 19, the House of Representatives approved a government funding bill that would slash more than $60 billion from the federal budget for the last half of fiscal year 2011. The bill (H.R. 1) unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable and organic farmers. It makes steep cuts in agricultural research, extension and farm credit. It makes deep cuts to funding provided in the 2008 Farm Bill for conservation and would terminate programs that serve beginning and minority farmers without making any cuts to commodity or crop insurance funding. The cuts are reckless and unjust, threatening economic recovery in rural communities struggling to create jobs, find new markets, and renew economic life.
Calls to the Senate this week will be critical to the outcome of the
coming battle over government funding and policy.
Please call your Senators today.
When the Food & Drug Administration took public comments on genetically engineered salmon last Fall, 21,095 Organic Consumers Association activists sent letters urging the FDA to block Frankenfish. We expect the FDA to release an environmental assessment of the GM salmon any day now, and when they do, we'll have another 30 days to submit public comments, but FDA approval seems all but certain.
Thankfully, there are members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, who are committed to stopping GM salmon, even if Obama's FDA gives it the green light. These Congresspersons know that GM salmon just isn't safe. Worse than even "normal" factory farmed fish, which are often deformed and disease-ridden, GM salmon is less nutritious, more likely to trigger allergies, and could increase cancer-risks in the people who eat it.
Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to cosponsor H.R.521, Rep. Don Young (R-AL)'s bill to ban GM salmon, and vote for H.R.1 Amendment No. 491, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)'s effort to include a ban on GM salmon in the 2011 Continuing Resolution.
Take Action: Tell Your Member of Congress to Cosponsor H.R.521 & Vote for CR Amendment No. 491!
Despite public opposition, the USDA recently approved Monsanto's Roundup Ready, genetically engineered alfalfa for commercial planting in the absence of sound science to prove that contamination can be prevented or that it is safe for human health or the environment. Alfalfa is primarily used as animal feed in dairies. Now that GE alfalfa has been cleared for commercial production, dairies need to hear from you that you will not purchase dairy products from companies that allow GE alfalfa!
Despite the risks, the USDA has now made it clear that they are not interested in regulating Monsanto’s GE Alfalfa. They approved it January 27th for planting this spring by farmers with no restrictions.
Tell President Obama that you don’t want organic and conventional agriculture contaminated by GE Alfalfa, and that you have a right to eat meat, dairy, and eggs from livestock who consume non-genetically engineered crops. Read more and take action.
In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S. Read more about this critical issue and take action!
Click here to tell U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack that the science doesn’t support the agency’s proposed measures to prevent GMO contamination. The only way to fully protect farmers, consumers and the environment is to deny approval of GE alfalfa and adopt a moratorium.
Contact your Senators and Representative Today
If you do not know who they are click here.
Call: the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202)224-3121 and ask for your Senator/Representative's office.
Speak with the agriculture staff person or leave a message:
►Ask them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague Letter to USDA about Banning GE Alfalfa"
Click HERE and send an email today to the Secretaries of State (Clinton), Agriculture (Vilsack), and Health and Human Services (Sebelius). Please try to do this before Wednesday, May 5th, but don’t stop until they come around.
They must stop U.S. negotiators at an international (Codex) conference from May 3-7, from pushing an agenda that could make it difficult for anyone, anywhere in the world to label foods as genetically modified (GM) – or even make non-GMO claims on their product’s label.
The U.S. is taking the ridiculous and unscientific position that GMOs are not different from conventional foods, claiming labels that say GMO or non-GMO are misleading.
If they succeed at the meeting, the U.S. may then file lawsuits through the World Trade Organization against any country that implements mandatory labeling of GMOs, or even allows non-GMO claims on packages.
This Is a Grave Threat to the Non-GMO Tipping Point – We Must Push Back Now!
The growing evidence and concern about health dangers of GMOs is making waves. A renowned US Medical organization (American Academy of Environmental Medicine) called on doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. Consumers are seeking non-GMO brands, and the fastest growing claim among store brands in 2009 was “GMO-Free” (Neilson Survey). The trade journal Supermarket News predicts GMO concerns will erupt this year, specifically because consumers are now given choices by the new Non-GMO Shopping Guide website and the Non-GMO Project’s third-party verified standard for making non-GMO claims.
Most Americans (53%) say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled. But even 5% would likely be enough to create a tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing all GM ingredients out of our food supply.
We can see the tipping point just over the horizon, but it is now threatened by the US position at Codex.
Tell our government leaders that you will not stand for this outrageous obstruction of our democracy and human rights. Demand that the U.S. support the right for countries everywhere to label GMOs. And remind them that 9 out of 10 Americans want mandatory GMO labeling, and that President Obama actually made a campaign pledge to implement it—which are all waiting for.
Operated by the United Nations, the Codex Alimentarius is a collection of guidelines, codes and recommendations regarding food safety and labeling standards which are used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle international disputes regarding food and agricultural trade agreements.
The U.S. Delegation to the Codex meeting is adopting a position that would make it virtually impossible to label foods as "GMO-free" anywhere in the world. Click on the link below to stop this end-run around our democratic process and make sure the voice of the American people is heard on GMO labeling.
According to the USDA's new organic pasture rule, released in February 2010, pasture grazing is required in organic dairy production, but organic beef cattle may be exempt from obtaining any of their feed from pasture during the last four months of their lives.
Learn more and send your comments to the USDA before the April 19th deadline.
J.E.M. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred, 534 U.S. 124 (2001) granted large biotech corporations like Monsanto extensive patent protection over genetically modified seeds. This case was authored by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former General Counsel for Monsanto.
In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the U.S. Supreme Court will review an appellate court decision ruling that the USDA illegally approved Monsanto's GM sugar beets without determining whether organic farmers, consumers or the environment would be adversely effected.
Justice Thomas has an obvious conflict of interest and should recuse himself, but he has decided to reserve his power to rule on the GM sugar beet case.
As one blogger put it, "Fox, meet henhouse."
Please sign OCA's petition to Justice Thomas
Monsanto wants to sell its genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa and wants the USDA to approve its permit application, but consumers, farmers, dairies, and food companies don't want GE alfalfa plants and seeds released into the environment.
USDA's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) admits that if GE alfalfa is approved:
- GE Contamination of non-GE and organic alfalfa crops will occur
- GE contamination will economically impact small and family farmers
- Foreign export markets will be at risk due to rejection of GE contaminated products
- Farmers will be forced to use more toxic herbicides to remove old stands of alfalfa
Call your Congressional Representatives today and ask them to hold USDA accountable by contacting Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack!
Learn More & Take action
This extreme concentration of power is not unique to corn and soy. And it’s a big problem — not just for family farmers struggling to compete. Standing between you and the family farmer are a handful of corporations who control our entire food system from seed to plate.
It's time to change who controls our food system and we need your help to do it. Tell the government that you trust family farmers — not agribusiness corporations — with your food!
Corporate concentration has many forms — factory farms, the dairy crisis, genetically engineered food — anything that puts the control of our food into the hands of a few companies and forces farmers out of business and off the land. These issues are finally getting attention — last week, the first in a series of public workshops was held by the Department of Justice and the US Department of Agriculture.
Thanks to Farm Aid supporters like you, family farmers got a chance to speak at these hearings. They told the Department of Justice how corporate concentration threatens their ability to make a decent living. Farm Aid staff attended the meeting as well, and I can say that it was a step in the right direction.
Now, we need your support to keep the momentum going as more hearings take place across the country throughout 2010. Tell Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that corporate concentration in agriculture is devastating for family farmers, bad for our health, and wrong for consumers like you and me!
This is an historic opportunity for farmers who have been marginalized by agribusiness giants. The government needs to hear from people like you, people who trust the farmers who grow our food — not corporations facing anti-trust investigation.
Please, take a moment right now to tell Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that corporate control has created a food system that lines the pockets of a handful of companies — while bankrupting family farmers and leaving the rest of us hungry for change.