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/.
December 2, 2014
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski Chairwoman
Senate Appropriations Committee The Capitol S-128
The Honorable Richard Shelby Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee The Capitol S-146-A Washington, DC 20510
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby:
The undersigned 207 farm, ranch, rural, faith, labor, environmental, farmworker, manufacturing and consumer organizations urge the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee to reject any effort to weaken, suspend or rescind mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in the upcoming legislation to provide funding for the federal government for the remainder or part of Fiscal Year 2015.
American consumers are increasingly interested in understanding more about the origins of their food and the public overwhelmingly supports Country of Origin Labeling. The commonsense COOL labels that are in place today provide additional and more accurate information about where their food comes from. Farmers are proud of the food they put on American dinner tables and support the current COOL labels that allow consumers to make more informed food purchasing decisions.
Congress enacted COOL in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills in response to the broad-based support for these sensible labels. Since 2008, the World Trade Organization has been weighing a dispute over COOL that will most likely continue past the end of Fiscal Year 2015. The WTO has ruled that COOL labels are legitimate but continues to weigh the implementation of the labeling requirements. Importantly, in each successive deliberation, the WTO has been increasing receptive to the legitimacy of the Congressionally mandated labels.
Congress should not short circuit the WTO process; nor should it unconditionally surrender to the threats of tariff retaliation by our trading partners. We believe the United States has strong grounds to appeal the most recent WTO ruling. Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative officially announced it would appeal the latest ruling.
The Senate rejected efforts to weaken COOL in the 2014 Farm Bill and the FY 2015 Agricultural Appropriations measure. Indeed, the Farm Bill added venison to the list of products that receive the COOL label. We do not believe that Congress should make any legislative change to weaken, suspend or rescind COOL at this juncture; nor do we believe it is appropriate to make legislative changes to these popular labels outside of the full view of the American public as the Appropriations Committee leadership negotiates the upcoming spending legislation. We urge you to reject any effort to undermine these commonsense labels.
Agricultural Missions, Inc. (NY)
Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association American Agri-Women
American Agriculture Movement
American Federation of Government Employees (AFL- CIO),
Local 3354, USDA-St. Louis
American Grassfed Association American Outdoor Products (CO)
American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association Angelic Organics Learning Center (IL)
Arkansas Farmers Union
Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake County (OH)
Farmers’ Union Astronaut Foods (CO)
Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. (NY)
Backpacker’s Pantry (CO)
Buckeye Quality Beef Association (OH)
California Dairy Campaign
California Farmers Union
Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform
Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment
Caney Fork Headwaters Association (TN)
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (NC)
Cattle Producers of Louisiana
Cattle Producers of Washington
Center for Family Farm Development (GA)
Center for Food Safety
Center for Media and Democracy’s Food Rights Network
Center for Rural Affairs
Central Co-op (WA)
Chicago Consumer Coalition
Church Women United in New York State
Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana
The CJD Foundation
Cleanwater Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin
Coalition for a Prosperous America
Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association
Communication Workers of America Local 1082 (NJ)
Community Farm Alliance (KY)
Community Food and Justice Coalition (CA)
Consumer Assistance Council, Inc.
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Federation of California
The Consumer Federation of the Southeast
Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias
The Cornucopia Institute
Cornucopia Network NJ/TN Chapter
Crawford Stewardship Project (WI)
Stock Growers Cumberland Countians for Ecojustice (TN)
Dakota Resource Council
Dakota Rural Action of SD
Delmar Farmers Market (NY)
Dock to Dish (NY)
East New York Farms!
United Community Centers Eco-Justice Ministries (CO)
Ecological Farming Association (CA)
The Ecology Party of Florida
Ethical Eating Task Force (CO)
Fair World Project (OR)
Family Farm Defenders (WI)
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Farmworker Association of Florida
Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund
Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. Food & Water Watch
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Food Democracy Now!
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Glenn Miller Seed, Inc. (OR)
Global Justice Ecology Project
Government Accountability Project
Hawaii Farmers Union United
Hmong National Development, Inc.
Idaho Organization of Resource Councils
Illinois Farmers Union
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND)
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming
Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas
Indian Nations Conservation Alliance
Indiana Farmers Union
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Texas Longhorn Association
Intertribal Agriculture Council
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Iowa Farmers Union
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)
Kansas Cattlemen’s Association
Kansas Farmers Union
The Kitchen Community (CO)
The Land Connection (IL)
Land Stewardship Project (MN)
Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy,
Teachers College Columbia University (NY)
Loretto Earth Network (CO)
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society
Marais River Livestock Association (MT)
Massachusetts Consumers’ Council, Inc.
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (WI)
Michigan Farmers Union
Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Association
Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota State National Farmers Organization
Mississippi Assoc. of Cooperatives
Missouri Farmers Union
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Missouri’s Best Beef Cooperative
Montana Farmers Union
Murray County (OK)
Independent Cattlemen’s Association
National Consumers League
National Family Farm Coalition
National Farmers Organization
National Farmers Union
National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
National Hmong American Farmers, Inc.
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
National Organic Coalition
National Women Involved in Farm Economics
National Young Farmers Coalition
Nature Abounds (PA)
Nebraska Farmers Union
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society
Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ
Nevada Live Stock Association
New England Farmers Union (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI,VT)
New Jersey State Industrial Union Council
New York Women Involved in Farm Economics
N. Carolina Assoc. of Black Lawyers
Land Loss Prevention Project
North Dakota Farmers Union
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc- MA
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. NH
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – NJ
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – NY
Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. – RI
Northeast Organic Farming Association, Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)
Northern Wisconsin Beef Producers Assoc.
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (MA)
Northwest Farm Bill Action Group
Northwest Farmers Union
Northwest Forest Worker Alliance (CA, OR & WA)
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance
Ohio Farmers Union
Oregon Consumers League
Oregon Rural Action
Organic Consumers Association
Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM)
Organic Seed Alliance
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
Organization for Competitive Markets
Partnership for Earth Spirituality
PCC Natural Markets (WA)
Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group (PBCCG) (PA)
Pennsylvania Farmers Union
Pennypack Farm and Education Center (PA)
Pesticide Action Network North America
Powder River Basin Resource Council (WY)
Progressive Agriculture Organization (PA)
R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America
Ranch Foods Direct (CO)
Raritan Headwaters Association (NJ)
Real Food for Kids – Montgomery (MD)
Real Men Charities, Inc.
Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association (NY)
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
Rooted in Community (CA)
Roots of Change (CA)
Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI-USA)
Rural and Agricultural Council of America
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural
Sister Eden (MD)
Small Planet Institute
South Dakota Farmers Union
South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Association South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
Texas Farmers Union
Tilth Producers of Washington
Tooling, Manufacturing and Technologies Assoc. (MI)
Transition Newton & Northwest NJ
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness
Ministries Valley Organic Growers Association (CO)
Virginia Association for Biological Farming
Virginia Citizens Consumer Council
Walter’s Signs (NJ)
Western Colorado Congress
Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC)
Williams County Alliance (OH)
Wisconsin Farmers Union
Women, Food and Agriculture Network
Press Release – Tuesday, 25 November 2014
On this International Day of Action Against Violence Towards Women, La Via Campesina is again denouncing the structural violence that women have to confront each day and that has been systematically silenced, made to appear natural, and rendered invisible by patriarchal capitalist society.
In 2008, in its Vth Conference, La Via Campesina launched the Global Campaign to End Violence Towards Women, both as an urgent appeal for a social, cultural, and political change in peoples, in communities, and in organisations, and as a challenge to society as a whole to effect a cultural transformation in order to overcome the relations of inequality between men and women.
Violence and oppression against women existed in pre-capitalist societies, but it is since the onset of capitalism that violence in all its forms – political, economic, physical, and pyschological – has intensified. Today, violence against women is found among all social classes, generations, and sexual orientations, affecting both urban women and rural women.
Read the full press release here.
Just ahead of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia (November 15-16, 2014), India and the United States announced a breakthrough in their trade negotiations impasse over agriculture. That fight had brought trade negotiations to a crashing standstill in July after the few months of tentative optimism among negotiators that followed the eleventh-hour agreement in at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013. Confidence in the multilateral rules-based trading system had reached an all-time low, and while the response was muted (an agreement between two WTO members is not the same as an agreement among all), the media coverage made it clear the news of the U.S.-India agreement was very welcome in trade circles.
Should the rest of the world share this excitement? The discussion underlying the fight between India and the United States has important implications for countries’ ability to set policy to promote food security and control their food systems—and the role the WTO and the multilateral system should play in that effort.
The India-US agreement means the 2013 Bali WTO Ministerial Conference will likely have an outcome after all: the Trade Facilitation Agreement1 is now widely expected to go ahead. India had been refusing to sign the agreement unless there was “substantive movement” on the Bali decision to revise the rules governing food security stocks within the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. In the agreement, the U.S. has agreed it will not challenge India’s spending on food stocks until the negotiations at the WTO on stocks are concluded, granting India what is called an indefinite peace clause for its programs.
Find out what you need to know here.
GRAIN | 18 November 2014 | Against the grain
What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.
But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilizations are already forcing governments to put seed privatization plans on hold.
Read the article here.