Last year, I met a farmer from Mali that turned out to be a lot like me. He had the same concerns about yields, lack of rain, production costs and profitability, but as we talked we had one thing in common: a shared concern about the survival of the family farm, in the U.S. and around the world.
At long last, Congress looks like they could help us out with that.
Last week, in part because of the actions of ONE members, the House Agricultural Committee heard the call for reform and took the first step to changing the Farm Bill for the better and put a cap on payments made to big business farmers.
As a farmer in Virginia, I can tell you just how important it is to take yet another big step forward with subsidy reform. Right now the bulk of the subsidies go to gigantic corporate farms, allowing them to sell their crops below cost so that small farmers here and around the world can't compete.
The Farm Bill only comes up for a vote once every 5 years, and it is scheduled for a vote on Thursday. That gives us less than a week to make sure Congress passes a comprehensive package of real reform.
A large bipartisan group of legislators have joined together to create the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy Amendment, which would provide many of those desperately needed changes, but they are going to need a ton of support from us in order to pass this ambitious reform package.
Your letter to Congress will follow the thousands of letters to the editors of local papers all over the U.S. that ONE members wrote late last week and early this week. These letters are already appearing in papers from the Chicago Tribune to the Tuscaloosa News, and will continue to be published at the same time that the halls of Congress receive your deluge of faxes.
That's right, faxes. The folks at ONE want to make sure that Congress gets the message, so they are sending every one of your letters as a fax to your Representative's office.
Please urge your representative to vote for the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy Amendment, which is critical to small family farmers -- like me -- and to farmers in developing countries working hard to earn their way out of poverty. We can win this fight, but we have to take action now. I hope you will continue to keep up the pressure on Congress. You can bet I will.