The Senate Ag Committee, the folks who decide what they push into the Farm Bill moved the deadlines up over a month to this Friday, March 31st. That is why we are in the urgent situation we are in. And AFA is trying our best to provide you with a template to help guide you on your submissions. The government has asked for the public’s opinion on the upcoming Farm Bill and gave Food System Lobbyists a deadline to get your opinions in by Friday, March 31st. For AFA’s asks and your opinions to match, saying you support our language submissions has the absolute most impact because then when we tell them we have their constituents/voters asking for this, they are able to see that yes, we have many voters who support our asks.
Quick advice: Submission Rejections could happen for some of these 3 reasons so re-edit (Consider saving your customizations somewhere before you hit submit):
- Word Limits – Each freeform question may have word limits. Not everyone is experiencing this, but if yours gets rejected, reduce your word count
- Customize – Rejections can happen if you don’t customize as the government portal may think you’re a bot. Customize language with your bio perhaps before you input AFA’s language: “I have been vegan for 13 years and am super passionate about correcting our food system”.
Instructions for Senate Submission
Step 1 – Click on the Senate Submission Portal and make sure it opens in a new browser window: https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/farm-bill-input
Step 2 – Fill out your personal info. It additionally asks you what Farm or Organization you are connected to – input our name like this:
Farm Name/Organization: Agriculture Fairness Alliance www.agriculturefairnessalliance.org
Step 3 – Next it asks you 1 open ended question about your opinions on the Farm Bill & while you can copy/paste 1 of these options, if it’s too exact it will get rejected thinking you are a bot. So think about it like you are doing a group homework assignment where everyone needs a cohesive response, but it cannot be exact. Make some edits, re-arrange items.
PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR INPUT ON THE UPCOMING FARM BILL – 2 Answer Template Options (Long vs Short) directly below.
Option 1 – (Discusses environment, animal abuse, human health, monopolies)
As a constituent in your state and a member of Agriculture Fairness Alliance, I am writing to bring attention to the ongoing issues plaguing our food system. The current system is dominated by a few monopolies, which prioritize profit over sustainability and fairness. This has resulted in widespread environmental degradation, animal abuse, human health concerns and exploitation of small farmers. And it’s put us in an emergency situation that has led to multiple crises at the same time including:
- Livestock, Livestock Feed and Dairy Operations are completely reliant on government assistance with no end in sight
- Droughts and heat waves leading to exponential insurance claims for livestock farming in areas that should be classified as unsurvivable – Industrialized Ag monopolies putting small farmers out of business
- Bandaid solutions for livestock diseases with no long-term plan for farmers
- Sustainability funding being used by non-sustainable operations; ex: CAFOs & large unregulated farms
- Neglect of assistance and safety nets for fruit, veggie, human-grade grain, legumes & fungi farmers
- Huge profits and bailouts for industrialized Ag monopolies
- Ignoring food system fraud (CFAP1 & CFAP2) that amounts to multi-millions of dollars
- Lack of access to fiber-rich foods for ALL American consumers at the detriment of Americans’ health (this isn’t solved by SNAP as this only includes 40MM Americans)
It’s time to shift the balance of power in the food system towards all consumers and small farmers. To do so, AFA has prioritized the need to address these issues in the upcoming Farm Bill that I fully back:
Title I, Commodity Programs: Expand funding for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers to ensure they receive their fair share of support, as only 3% of current funding goes to these vital sectors. Expand crop definitions to include actual human grade crops.
Expand transitioning programs for livestock farmers who are struggling financially and experiencing losses due to disease and climate-related factors, providing them with the necessary resources and support to transition to fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming. This will ultimately set them on a path to less of our taxes going to them long term and setting them up for autonomy. Additionally, set limits on the size of farm that can receive this assistance.
Title II, Conservation: Expand funding for conservation programs that prioritize & include sustainable farming practices and support fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers in adopting these practices. Ensure that conservation funding is distributed fairly and that fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers receive an equitable share of these resources.
Title III, Trade: Support fair trade policies that prioritize fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers and expand their access to global markets. Stop the favoritism to only fund livestock, livestock feed and dairy. Additionally, set limits on the size of farm that can receive this assistance.
Title IV, Nutrition: Expand funding for existing health & Nutrition programs that promote access to healthy fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi in underserved communities. Support programs that incentivize farmers to grow these crops in areas where they are needed the most, promoting racial equity to BIPOC communities.
Title V, Credit: Expand credit opportunities for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers who often have limited access to financing compared to their livestock farming counterparts. Encourage lending institutions to prioritize sustainable farming practices that include plant based farms and plant based transitions, creating a level playing field for all farmers.
Title VI, Rural Development: Invest in rural development programs that support the growth of fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming and connect small farmers with local markets. Ensure that these programs provide equitable support for all fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers and not just large livestock, livestock feed, and dairy operations. Additionally, limit the size of farm operations (income based eligibility limits) that can get government assistance to set up shop in rural communities as these industrialized operations negatively affect communities.
Title VII, Research, Extension, and Related Matters: Expand & prioritize funding for research into sustainable farming practices that support fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farming, and encourage the adoption of these practices through extension programs. Provide support for researchers, transition educators and extension agents to work with farmers on the ground to identify solutions to the challenges they face, including transitioning to new crops and farming practices. Ensure there are unbiased moderators that review research findings and reward results without using favoritism.
Title XI, Crop Insurance: Expand crop definitions in crop insurance policies to provide adequate coverage for fruit, veggie, grain, legume & fungi farmers, who often face unique challenges and risks compared to livestock farmers. Promote crop insurance options that encourage diversification of plant based crops and sustainable farming practices, supporting the transition away from livestock farming.
As a concerned voter in your state, I am urgently submitting these Farm Bill asks/solutions to address the dire state of our food system. The current system is controlled by monopolies and profit-driven corporations, and we are ALL suffering the devastating consequences in terms of public health, environmental degradation, increased animals abuse, disease outbreaks, and skyrocketing grocery costs. It’s time for bold action and meaningful change to ensure a fair and sustainable food system that benefits all Americans, not just the select few who have been favored for too long. Our future depends on swift and decisive action, and I implore you to support & work with Agriculture Fairness Alliance to get us on track towards a better and brighter food system.
Option 2 – Is short, doesn’t include Title by Title suggestions & doesn’t discuss animal abuse, but instead focuses on fairness.
My name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, State, Zip]. As a vegan and member of the Agriculture Fairness Alliance, I’m reaching out to urge you to prioritize plant-based foods in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization. The current food system is in need of drastic change, and we believe the Farm Bill is a key opportunity to create a fair and sustainable food system for all. One of our key asks is to prioritize farmer mobility and choice through AFA’s Farm Transition program. This program will provide resources and support for farmers looking to transition away from animal agriculture and towards plant-based farming. It’s a win-win situation – farmers can increase profitability while also reducing their environmental impact and their dependency on future subsidies, bailouts and insurance policies. We’re also calling for increased accessibility to nutrients of public health concern, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. But we can’t ignore the fact that the current system is heavily skewed towards livestock farmers and livestock feed. Unfair subsidies and bailouts only benefit these groups, while plant-based growers are left to fend for themselves. It’s time to level the playing field and stop favoring just one side. We are a growing group of concerned tax payers and are tired of watching the monopolization of our food system and the use of our taxes towards making agribusiness mega profits while the rest of us suffer. The current system is plagued by monopolies and profit-seeking corporations, and we are already experiencing the severe consequences in terms of public health, environmental degradation, disease outbreaks, and unaffordable grocery prices. These are our taxes and we should see them go towards helping small farmers and consumers. Thus, we need significant action and substantial changes to create a just and sustainable food system that benefits all Americans, not just a privileged few. Our future is at stake, and we cannot afford to wait any longer. I urge you to stand with us in the fight for a better food system.