On March 1, NFFC ally Pesticide Action Network North America delivered a letter to President Obama and White House Task Force on Pollinator Health officials urging greater action to protect bees. An impressive 125+ groups from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, including environmental, beekeeper, investor, farmer and faith, joined NFFC on PANNA’s letter.
Last updated: March 03. 2015 6:20PM – 691 Views
In a teleconference, representatives of the National Family Farm Coalition said the federal milk pricing formula leaves dairy farmers unable to pay their basic costs of production. Equally important they said, was the damage to support businesses which fold when dairy farmers do not make enough money to pay them.
With compensation for milk having dropped 85 cents per gallon since Nov. 2014, dairy farmers across the country believe the the impact of the reduction will negatively impact their families and communities in the short and long term.
“In my experience consumers are surprised to learn the formula used by United States Department of Agriculture does not take into consideration the cost of production,” said Tewksbury, of Meshoppen. “Farmers understand, consumers understand, but the government does not.”
“In 1981 when the formula was implemented, there were almost 200,000 dairy farmers in our country,” he said. “Today there are only 45,000.”
Tewksbury said the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, promised assurances to farmers that have not materialized.
“For example, the Margin Protection Program (margin insurance) designed to help farmers deal with prolonged periods of low margins, has not been as helpful to farmers as originally anticipated and not all farmers have opted to participate,” he said.
Kathy Ozer of the farm coalition said USDA assurances that exporting would increase farming profitability didn’t pan out.
“Exporting farm products was touted as the salvation of the American farmer,” said Ozer. “But that market has dried up.”
The conference also addressed negative publicity about milk and milk products in the media and amid nutritional advocates.
Tewksbury said not only does the sale of dairy products benefit the economy, it keeps people healthy.
Nina Teicholz, author of the New York Times best seller, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” told the teleconference recent trends toward avoiding fat and dairy products have left farmers financially strapped and the public undernourished.
“Even the American Heart Association has withdrawn its warning regarding the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease,” she said.
Tewksbury said he drank milk all his life and believes it has been a healthy choice.
“Hot cocoa for breakfast, whole milk in my coffee, all that,” he said.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLNews.
Originally posted at: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news/152137781/
Here we go again. Presidential hopefuls are descending on Iowa like saviors from on high, feigning to listen to “we, the voters.” With frequent news stories about how our farming practices affect others downstream (like water consumers in Des Moines and fishers in the Gulf of Mexico), or how patented GMO seed and toxic pesticides get promoted around the world as a godsend for poor hungry people, it should be evident that as Iowa goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world. With so much at stake, we should be very clear about our vision for agriculture.
From the looks of it, giant agribusinesses and their spokespeople intend to drown out the voices of everyday Iowans by aggressively promoting a vision of agriculture that puts the interests of big-money corporations before people and our environment.
A clear example of this is a high-profile political gathering in Des Moines on Saturday, proclaimed as the “Iowa Ag Summit” by its sponsor Bruce Rastetter, agribusiness investor and major political donor. His investments in ethanol and hog factory companies and his campaign contributions have paid off handsomely, landing him a powerful position on the Iowa Board of Regents. While many politicians and candidates are invited, the only questions will come from Rastetter himself. Feel left out? Won’t this really be just a “Corporate Ag Summit,” given Rastetter’s long record of making money by putting profits before people, our air, land and water?
Similar to what I witnessed during the 1980s farm crisis, corporate agribusiness groups and their financially supported politicians will claim there’s nothing to worry about. (They said, “What farm crisis? Farmers that go broke are just bad managers.”) They’ll recruit everybody into thinking that their vision of agriculture, the status quo, is the only way forward. They will say consumers only want cheap food, so hog confinements, nitrate and pesticide pollution, and decimated rural communities are part of the bargain.
The agribusiness vision is not the only or best vision, especially for family farmers. You need to know that independent farmers won’t benefit from the agribusiness status quo. Farm prices are already headed down as herbicide-resistant GMO seeds have helped bring 157 million acres of new land into production around the world. The straitjacket of the corn-soybean rotation will result in fewer and fewer farmers to the point our land will be farmed without farmers! Furthermore, all the many weed, pest and disease problems we face today will get worse and only be addressed with more GMO seeds and more chemicals that go with them.
It’s time for us to speak out, recognize that Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (published in 1962!) foretold our situation, and remember the wisdom of Jesse Jackson’s position in his 1988 presidential race: The best urban policy starts with the best rural policy.
There is a different vision and set of policies that serve rural and urban folks alike, young and old and future generations while restoring the all-important biodiversity that has been lost. Progressive organizations support the thousands of young women and men already taking on the challenge of growing healthy pesticide-free produce for local markets or raise livestock on their family farms rather than in factory farms.
Nobody wants their drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals, fertilizer and manure. We need policy that makes sustainable, non-polluting kinds of farming the norm, not the exception. It’s your food, your water, your air, our future.
We must speak out and demand that this kind of economic opportunity be restored to rural America!
GEORGE NAYLOR has raised non-GMO corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in Greene County since 1976. He is a board member of the Center for Food Safety and a past president of the National Family Farm Coalition. He will be a featured speaker at the Food and Ag Justice Summit in Des Moines, March 6-7. For more information, go to: www.iowacci.org or call (515) 255-0800. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
NFFC vice president, Dena Hoff (Northern Plains Resource Council), is understandably concerned: a pipeline just dumped 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near her farm. This is the second spill on the Yellowstone in three and a half years, and the Keystone XL pipeline is still under debate for construction.
Farm Aid explores the decline and rebuilding efforts of Black farmers in the US. FARM AID 2014 ISSUE BRIEF – BLACK FARMING and LAND LOSS
Andy Fisher and Robert Gottlieb explore the benefits – or detriments – of Walmart Foundation funding at Civil Eats.
Check out the latest article by Daryll E. Ray who holds the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, and is the Director of UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). His latest article looks at a farmer’s decision on whether to participate in Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or the county-yield-based Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC)– Read it here.
The Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee convened on December 10th to discuss competing proposals; H.R. 4432, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 and H.R. 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.
Watch Congresswoman Chellie Pingree address a rally outside the House Hearing to represent public opposition to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.
Learn more about the hearing and the proposals here.
Please Read the Press Release issued by Alliance For Food Sovereignty In Africa and US Food Sovereignty Alliance here:
Dec. 8, 2014
Outside Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations in Washington, D.C.,
Hundreds Gather to Protest TPP, Toast the Demise of Fast Track Authority
WASHINGTON, D.C. – An hour of loud chanting and noisemakers ensured
that the chief negotiators from the 12 nations involved in Trans-
Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks today were aware of growing U.S.
public opposition to the TPP and the extremely dim prospects that
President Barack Obama will ever obtain Fast Track trade authority,
Public Citizen said. Hundreds of activists from labor, environmental,
consumer, human rights, public health, Internet freedom, faith and
family farm groups protested outside the Office of the United States
Trade Representative (USTR), where negotiators were meeting.
“U.S. public opposition is focused on TPP non-trade terms being pushed
by U.S. officials on behalf of corporate interests that would raise
medicine prices, undermine Internet freedom and provide foreign firms
operating here special privileges relative to their domestic
competitors,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global
Trade Watch. “President Obama will not get Fast Track authority for
the TPP because congressional Democrats and Republicans alike oppose
such ‘diplomatic legislating’ and are irate about the actual trade
terms, such as disciplines against currency manipulation, that the
administration has refused to raise in TPP talks.”
“The voices of millions of working, middle-class Americans cannot be
ignored,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “They are tired
of being the casualties of bad trade deals that send good-paying jobs
overseas. The Teamsters Union will continue to fight against Fast
Track authorization and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – American
workers cannot pay the price of another bad trade deal.”
“We believe in trade,” said George Kohl, senior director of
Communications Workers of America. “We are fighting against old trade
policy that literally guarantees corporate profits at the expense of
working families in all nations. In the weeks ahead, we will mobilize
like never before against Fast Track authorizing legislation and the
TPP, and for 21st century trade that gives workers’ rights,
environmental issues and other concerns the same standing as corporate
“It’s time for all Americans – environmentalists, parents, workers –
to come together and make some noise,” said Ilana Solomon, director of
the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program. “We can’t let negotiators
secretly shape trade pacts behind closed doors that will open up the
floodgates for fracking, make environmental safeguards vulnerable to
polluter attacks and worsen climate disruption. We’re raising our
voices to say ‘no’ to fast tracking a flawed Trans-Pacific
Partnership, and ‘yes’ to protecting our families and communities.”
Added Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign,
“Trade negotiators need to wake up to the fact that Fast Track is dead
and won’t be resurrected. Voters have had enough of backroom pacts
that put corporate profits ahead of human needs, and Congress members
increasingly understand that rubber-stamping the TPP would be a fast
track out of office.”
For more information about the TPP, visit http://www.exposethetpp.org/.