Here is something we sent out to our friends and family on October 23.
Greetings friends of the food movement and local & regional agriculture,
We write tonight to invite you to join us in supporting President Obama’s reelection. We can think of a lot of reasons to support this administration. However, there is no better reason than to acknowledge the support through Secretary Vilsack that President Obama has provided to the food and agriculture community in general and specifically to those of us championing local, regional, and good food. Below are some reasons why we need to keep Obama in the White House and his policies for food and agriculture in place at USDA. If you are like us, you haven’t been in love with every single food and agriculture decision from this administration, but the good stuff will all go away if Obama loses this election and historically speaking there’s a bunch of good stuff. [continues below]
Romney and Ryan basically have no agriculture policy beyond eliminating the inheritance tax and getting rid of as much federal regulation of agriculture as they can. There is no evidence they will keep in place support for organic ag, small farms, beginning farmers, nutrition programs, local foods, urban agriculture, and creative conservation efforts like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Coyote Run Farm, our 110 acre diversified farm marketing 100% of our production to local customers, is depending on the kind of support the Obama administration is providing to agriculture. In addition, the Obama administration’s support for trade, disaster programs, and tax policies have also benefited the 1000 acre, commodity family farm that Matt’s parents and brother and sister in law are operating in Cass County. This administration, unlike any in our lifetime, is fighting for all of agriculture. Sometimes that can be disappointing when the administration doesn’t always take our side. But never has an administration taken the issues raised by the food movement so seriously and stood up for small farms so aggressively. For example, USDA has institutionalized its support through the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food work within the department. Again, this will all go away if Obama loses this election and agribusiness once again runs every aspect of USDA.
Here’s how this administration is providing meaningful support for our farm. The picture below (not included in this post) is of our high tunnel that was supported by the EQIP program of NRCS. USDA helped pay for thousands of these buildings throughout the country to support more efficient production of fruits and vegetables for local markets. We also got EQIP money for transitioning our farm into a grass based system of grazing beef cattle and poultry. American tax payers are paying us to protect the natural and national resource of our soil. We’re thankful for the support from our fellow Americans, take our responsibility seriously, and appreciate that the Obama administration values the efforts of our small farm. We participate in the CSP program which pays us to practice extra conservation on our working lands. Part of our CSP is a commitment to purchase inputs locally and to produce for local markets. When we started our farm in 2005, our county Farm Service Agency office wasn’t interested in our fruit and vegetable production. For the last three years, we have had tremendous support from our county office for our farming enterprises. This would not have happened except for the direction to county offices from Secretary Vilsack and John Whitaker the FSA state executive director, appointed by Obama. We also have benefited from being able to accept WIC, Senior, and SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits at the farmers market.
There are two important reasons we need to stand up and be counted as food movement Obama supporters. First, as mentioned above, a Romney victory will dismantle much of the good work USDA has been doing in the past four years. Second, if Obama is reelected, it will be by a small margin. We need to be able to claim the food movement made a difference in that victory.
We invite you to join us in the next two weeks to let other Iowans know that a vote for Obama is a vote for all Iowa farm families, for rural communities, for stewardship of our natural resources, for food security for all Iowans, and most importantly for good food. We are e-mailing hundreds of people. We are submitting letters to the editor, we are changing our facebook profile photos (a couple of times) to show people we stand with Obama specifically on the issues of food and farming, and we are sending post cards to our neighbors. This last action is facilitated by the Obama campaign. You can sign up on line at the campaign and request a packet of 20 postcards, some draft language, and the addresses of 20 persuadable neighbors who share your zip code. https://my.barackobama.com/pag…
It doesn’t matter so much what you do, but that you do something in the next two weeks. We hope you’ll be joining us in celebrating an Obama reelection on November 6 with some great Iowa food and drink before going to bed.
Matt Russell and Patrick Standley
1841 20th PL
Lacona, IA 50139
Ps. We’re also counting on Obamacare to create certainty in access to health insurance in 2014. Iowa small farmers and small business owners need to be able to buy REAL private insurance policies that don’t exclude pre-existing conditions. You are welcome to forward this e-mail to others or borrow from this to create a message for your friends and family in your own words.