The Organic Trade Association is joining with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to advocate for these items:
Please Call Washington Now
As part of a larger effort, OTA is asking you to call your Member of Congress (not Senator) now. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your Representative, or you can find the direct line for your Representative here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt
Please say you are a constituent, that you support the economic recovery bill but that you urge them to support the Senate version of the bill on two specific Department of Agriculture items: funding for the WIC program and funding for farm loans. The Senate bill has these two provisions; the House bill does not. Thank you!
1. The $500 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) feeding program rather than the $100 million in the House bill. Regular WIC funding this year has run short, so the extra money in the recovery bill is needed to address hunger and nutrition and also to ensure that Congress isnít forced to rob farm bill conservation, renewable energy, organic, beginning farmer, and healthy food programs in the agriculture appropriations bill for 2009 (the next order of business for Congress) in order to make up for the WIC shortfall. Even more is needed than the Senate figure if WIC is to be fully funded without cuts to the other programs, so it is very important that there is no deal to compromise with the House number. The $500 million should be the minimum acceptable number.
2. The $650 million worth of farm loans funded by the Senate bill to help keep family farms in business during the financial collapse. As underwriting standards tighten and credit dries up, more farmers will turn to government loans and government guarantees of private commercial loans to finance their operations. USDA predicts that $650 million is the minimum extra funding that will be needed in the coming 18 months. The House bill does not include any funding for farm loans. The extra loan money in the Senate bill would help keep existing family farming operations in business, with significant shares of the total specifically directed toward beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.