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Update on food legislation (S.510)- conflicting info!!!
  • Subject: Update on food legislation (S.510)- conflicting info!!!
  • From: Theresa G <tchessie@gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2010 18:21:13 -0800

If you weren't already confused-  add this piece of info.


*From:* Food Democracy Now! Team [mailto:info@fooddemocracynow.org]
*Sent:* Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:52 AM
*Subject:* Urgent Vote: Michael Pollan supports farmers - Do your Senators?

 *Join Michael Pollan & Eric Schlosser in urging your Senators to pass the
Tester-Hagan Amendment to protect family farmers!

* <http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/276?akid=229.22310.pbPuAp&t=2>*
*Click here to call your Senators Now!
we made over 3,000 calls, can we get to 5,000?
*Critical Vote: Tell your Senators to support the Tester-Hagan amendment -
Vote YES for family farmers!

*The Senate just voted 74 Yes to 25 No in favor of the cloture vote*. *This
means that S.510, aka The Food Modernization Act, will move forward in the
Senate for a vote by the end of the week, possibly as soon as tomorrow*.
Even as the debate continues on the Senate floor, the forces of Big Ag are
working behind the scenes to kill the Tester-Hagan Amendment and all
provisions meant to protect small farmers. 1

Yesterday we sent out an alert asking that you call your Senators to tell
them vote for the 2 critical amendments needed to protect family farmers in
this new food safety bill.

Incredibly more than 3,000 Food Democracy Now! members made calls to their
Senators in all 50 states in less than 24 hours along with thousands of
calls from other groups across the country.

*Despite this heroic effort, we're hearing that some Senators still have not
made up their minds or **even worse**,** some are waffling** in their
support for the Tester-Hagan and Manager's Amendments*, which will help
protect farmers who sell their produce or goods locally to farmers markets,
customers, stores and restaurants from excessive regulations that could harm
their ability to compete and even survive. Clearly our work is not yet done.

*As early as tomorrow* the Senate could vote on the food safety bill and
FARMERS NEED the Tester-Hagan and Manager's Amendments to be included to
protect them from harmful regulations.

*Pollan and Schlosser weigh in*

The recognition of how important the passage of the Tester-Hagan Amendment
is has brought out 2 of the biggest voices in the sustainable food movement
to lend their support for family farmers.

Yesterday food experts and authors Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser
released a statement urging swift action in passing the food safety bill and
the Tester Amendment:

"S.510 is the most important food safety bill in a generation. The Tester
amendment will make it even more effective, helping to ensure food safety
while protecting small farmers and producers.  We both think this is the
right thing to do," said Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

After years of following these issues, meeting with hundreds of farmers and
victims of food safety outbreaks, both Pollan and Schlosser are convinced
that these important provisions are needed to improve food safety and
protect family farmers.

*Please join them in asking your Senators to vote Yes for family farmers and
the Tester Amendment!*


When you click, we'll provide your Senators' contact information and a way
to tell us how your call went. That way we can track our campaign's

We're hearing from our members, especially in California and New York, that
callers are having trouble connecting with their Senate offices. We regret
that. But know that the delays are because the offices are overloaded with
calls from us and others. Please take the extra time to get your call
connected. *We can't let up at this critical moment.* A big "Thank you" to
you of all who hung in there yesterday to get through to your Senators -
your diligence is needed and making a difference!

Montana Senator John Tester, the only organic farmer in the Senate, believes
that without his amendment, the food safety bill could seriously hard family

In an interview with the *Associated Press*, Senator Tester said, "It's
going to put a nail in the coffin of our family food producers." 2

Clearly there's concern at the highest level of how this bill will affect
farmers and we need your help in making sure provisions are passed that
protect small-scale farm producers.

Call your Senator now!*


*If the food safety bill passes without the Tester-Hagan and Manager's
Amendments there will be no guaranteed protections for family farmers who
sell locally to farmers markets, customers, stores or restaurants and the
most vibrant segment of agriculture could face severe restrictions from the

If you care about family farmers YOU need to act today.

If you care about the local food movement, this could be your last chance to
act to make sure these important provisions guaranteeing protections for
small farmers are written into law.

*Please call your Senators today and tell us how the call went. Make sure
the staffer tells you how your Senator plans to vote on the Tester-Hagan and
Manger's Amendments. As a constituent, you have a right to know*!


Once again, thank you for participating in food democracy today - Our nation
is only as strong as those who participate in the democratic process.

Today's action is exactly why Food Democracy Now! exists. Without the
collective voices of hundreds of thousands of activists who care deeply and
want to fight hard for real food democracy, the corporate voices would run
the table in Washington. Little by little, call by call, we are turning the

- Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team


1. "Food and Ag Groups Rally Against Tester Amendment", Helena Bottemiller,
*Food Safety News*, November 16, 2010.


2. "Local Food Avocates Target Food Safety Bill", Mary Clare Jalonick,
Press*, Real Clear Politics, November 17, 2010.


In the last two years alone America has witnessed some of the largest food
safety recalls in our nations history, including the American Peanut
Corporation fiasco and more recently, Jack DeCosters massive egg recall. *

*If one thing is clear from watching this news, its the fact that Americas
food system is broken and needs to be fixed*.

During this same time, the sustainable food and agriculture community has
been gripped by the debate over food safety legislation. After countless
rumors, battles behind the scenes in DC and passage in the U.S. House of
Representatives, the Food Safety Modernization Bill (S.510) has languished
in the U.S. Senate until now.

Tomorrow (Nov. 17th) the Senate is finally set to vote on the controversial
bill, and small-scale and organic farmers urgently need two important
amendments so the new regulations don't place huge financial burdens on
small farmers.

Without these two important amendments -- currently opposed by all the big
names in agribusiness -- small farmers will not be protected from
inappropriate regulations meant to curtail the largest and most likely
culprits of food safety outbreaks in the U.S.: giant, consolidated
agribusinesses and their massive processing partners.

*Please call your Senators and tell them it's time to stand up for family
farmers, farmers markets and restaurants that source their products locally
from small farmers and are driving the safe, healthy food renaissance in
America*.* *

*Click here to call your Senators to ask them to protect small farmers and
local food economies

When you click, we'll provide your Senators' contact information and a way
to tell us how the call went. That way we can track our campaign's progress.

For those who have followed this debate closely, one needs to only consider
that yesterday a Whos Who of Big Ag sent Congress a letter demanding that
your Senators not allow the Tester Amendment nor the Managers Amendments to

The battle lines are drawn, with the American Meat Institute, National
Chicken Council, National Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council
and the National Turkey Federation once again railing against small-scale
family farms and local food production.

It's clear that we need food safety legislation. However, without the
Tester-Hagan Amendment, small farmers will be subject to "one size fits all"
food safety regulations that will unfairly subject them to the same
standards as Tyson, Smithfield, DeCoster and the worst food safety abusers.

Sustainable Ag groups such as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
(NSAC) have been hard at work for the past 18 months on this bill,
protecting the interests of small farmers and we need to support their

*Farmer Protections from The Tester-Hagan Amendment*

The first and most important provision is the Tester-Hagan amendment, which
provides an exemption for family farmers who gross less than $500,000 and
sell direct to farmers markets, restaurants, customers and local stores
within 400 miles of their farm/processing facility. As the only organic
farmer in the U.S. Senate, John Tester has made sure that this amendment
protects the growing local food movement and allows small and beginning
farmers the opportunity to grow the most economically vibrant part of
agriculture, without excessive fees or paperwork that could harm
smaller-scale producers.

*The Manager's Amendment*

In addition, the Manager's Amendment, which includes 5 vital amendments,
would protect small-scale farmers from burdensome paperwork, offer farmers
competitive grants for food safety training, allow them to engage in
co-mingling of products from multiple farms in processing, reduce paperwork
and excessive traceability requirements, and protect wildlife and wildlife

While we understand that there are fears from many members within the
sustainable food and agriculture community regarding S. 510, only the
Tester-Hagan Amendment and the Managers Amendment stand to offer real
protections to small-scale local and organic farmers that are at the center
of a resurgence in agriculture today, while protecting all of America's food

*Tomorrow (Nov. 17th) this bill is finally set to come up for a vote in the
U.S. Senate and farmers need you to call your Senators and tell them its
time to stand up for family farmers, farmers markets and restaurants that
source their products locally from small

With the most recent elected officials set to take office next year, this
may be our last best hope of protecting consumers and small farmers alike -
please take a moment to make this important call today!

Thank you for participating in food democracy today!

- Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team

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