Farm Bill Platform Plank

WHEREAS, the Commodity Title of the US farm bill is the largest and most important part of the farm bill, in terms of economic impact in the United States and worldwide;1 and
WHEREAS, farm program crops, like corn, wheat, rice, cotton and soybeans, lack price responsiveness on both supply and demand sides,2 leading in the 20th century to chronic low prices, except for three significant price spikes upward;3 and
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Last day for comments on closing corporate farm subsidy loophole (updated)

UPDATE: According to Food Democracy Now, the relevant USDA official’s e-mail inbox is full and bouncing back messages.

Please send you comments to: Dan McGlynn via Mara Villegas at: mara.villegas@wdc.usda.gov

[…]

At this point you can do 1 of 3 things:

1. You can resend your comments to mara.villegas@wdc.usda.gov

2. Fax the letter in at: (202) 690-2130

3. Go to Regulation.gov and send your letter in using that website form.

http://www.regulations.gov/fdm…

If you go to Regulations.gov please realize that it is a several step process in order to submit your comments.

We have provided the proper steps to follow on our website.

http://www.fooddemocracynow.or…

Thanks again for all you do, we appreciate your continued efforts on this important subject.

I received an e-mail alert from Food Democracy Now today, informing me that the public comment period for a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule on farm payment limits ends at the close of business on Monday, April 6.

President Barack Obama promised during his budget speech to a joint session of Congress in February to “end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them.” Food Democracy Now’s action alert noted,

As part of his 2010 budget, the President proposed phasing-out direct payments in an attempt to save $9.8 billion over 10 years. Currently direct payments, which total $5.2 billion a year, are paid regardless of crop prices and are not tied to need.

This means: Even in times of high commodity prices, corporate farmers still get a paycheck from the government.

End Unfair Subsidies Now!

In mentioning unfair agribusiness subsidies, the President let supporters and agribusiness know that he’s serious about defending the rights of family farmers and giving them access to fair market conditions.

Today’s current subsidy system allows large corporate farms to take advantage of subsidy loopholes that place independent family farmers at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Because of loosely written management and labor requirements in the Farm Bill, corporate farmers are allowed to use multiple partnerships, passive investors and sham “paper” farms to funnel huge multimillion dollar annual subsidy payments to corporate entities that don’t do any real work on the farm, but use the ownership as an entitlement to bilk payments from the government.

As a result, giant corporate millionaire “farmers” are driving independent family farmers off the land, using their ill-gotten gains, supplied courtesy of taxpayers, to outbid small, midsized and new farmers who want to buy or rent new crop ground.

Food Democracy Now provided a sample e-mail that you can cope and paste into your own message. I’ve posted it after the jump, and you can also find it here.

If you can put the message in your own words, that’s wonderful, but any comment you can send by the close of business on Monday is better than nothing.

However you write the main text of your message, put this in the subject line:

Comment on Farm Program Payment Limitation Rule, Federal Register, Vol. 74, No. 23, February 5, 2009

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