It is springtime on the farm which means that seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse, the peepers are singing at dusk in Lake Miriam at Isabella Freedman, and lovers of food and earth are calling congress about agricultural appropriations. Thanks to millions of grassroots actions, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed with many important programs for sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. However, many of those programs need to be funded annually by Congress through the appropriations process.
Appropriations is a process full of nitty-gritty details and back-and-forths so it can seem off-putting to engage with. However, urging a healthier and more sustainable world for everybody hinges on it and you can participate without going cross-eyed with the fine print! Below is a script that we at Hazon recommend you use when calling your member of Congress. You can read more about each of the issues, however, you don’t have to to make a difference and call!
While your individual Senator or Representative might not be on the agricultural appropriations committee and thus might not have influence over the draft appropriations bill, it is very useful for them to know where you stand as a constituent so they can make public statements that may sway those on the committee or submit formal requests to the committee.
Our asks include:
- No cuts to mandatory funding for Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
- $10 million for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program, which houses the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (“Section 2501”).
- $20 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which houses the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
- $45 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) program.
- Tell the USDA not to move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington.
You can look up the names and contact info for your two senators and your house representative here or you can use the switchboard numbers below.
|Goal:||Weigh in On Agricultural Appropriations and USDA Research|
|Script||Hi! My name is [NAME], and I’m calling from _________. I’m calling because I want [Senator or Congressperson] to support a more sustainable and equal food system. Specifically, I hope that they will request the following from the appropriations committee: zero cuts to CSP and EQIP, $10 million for the FOTO program, $20 million for the LAMP program, and $45 million for the SARE program. I also hope that you will publicly oppose the reorganization of the USDA’s research agencies as I believe it will weaken their ability to carry out essential scientific inquiries. Thank you.|
Senator – (202) 224-3121
A switchboard operator or machine will connect you directly with the Senate office you request by the senator’s name or zip code. You have two senators so call back and ask for the other after you do your first call.
Congressperson – (202) 224-3121
A switchboard operator or machine will connect you directly with the congressional office you request by the Representative’s name or zip code. You only have one house representative so you only need to call once.