Three Important Federal Food/Farm Bills Need Your Support

Author(s): 
Chrys Ostrander

Hi Folks,

The Senate is back in session in Washington DC and they need to hear from you about these bills (the first one also has an on-line petition you can sign).

Yes, not many, hardly any, decent bills are getting past the senate's great black hole where good bills disappear into an alternative universe, but that doesn't mean we should be silent. Please let our politicians know we are watching and we care.

Stay well,

Chrys Ostrander
Editor, Inland FoodWise Online

 

Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr7940

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s4406

 

New pesticide regulations would fix "broken and outdated" system at the EPA, sponsors say

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Mr. UDALL (for himself, Ms. WARREN, Mr. BOOKER, and Mr. SANDERS) introduced the following bill;

https://investigatemidwest.org/2020/08/26/new-pesticide-regulations-would-fix-broken-and-outdated-system-at-the-epa-sponsors-say/

 

Each year, farmers across the United States spray millions of pounds of pesticides that are linked to brain damage in children, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine issues and the decline of insect and bird populations. 

A new bill introduced in Congress earlier this month could change that. 

Called the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020, the bill provides a framework for fixing what sponsors Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colorado) dub America’s “broken and outdated” pesticide regulatory system. 

Under the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide and Fungicide Act, the nation’s top law regulating pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has significant latitude in approving which chemicals can be sprayed, Udall said.

...The bill would close loopholes in the bill and would trigger full safety reviews of pesticides banned in the European Union or Canada. More than 70 different pesticides banned in Europe are allowed to be sprayed in the United States, according to the bill....The bill would also ban the organophosphate and neonicotinoid classes of insecticides and paraquat, a widely used herbicide that is highly toxic and linked to Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the legislation increases protections for farmworkers.

Center for Biological Diversity has an online petition:
https://act.biologicaldiversity.org/onlineactions/pyUacvyrIUaHfkzVWqjurQ2

Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr8096

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: 

Washington, DC, August 26, 2020 – Today, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) introduced The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) H.R. 8096 to provide meaningful support to farmers, ranchers, and critical local and regional food systems businesses.

In the face of ongoing pandemic impacts, local and regional food systems – including farmers markets, food hubs, and farmers and ranchers selling locally – have generated rapid innovations and business model pivots and proven to be one of the most resilient, effective ways to get healthy food to families in need. But they’ve done so largely without federal support, and thousands of farmers continue to report significantly increased expenses and reduced sales.

 

“Farmers and ranchers have been under intense stress and market uncertainty for months during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Representative Adams recognizes that Congress must step up to help,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director. “This bill offers the need for more effective, targeted aid that meets the real needs of the producers and local food businesses working hard to feed their communities right now.”

  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has distributed billions in aid, but the program has left out thousands of producers, including farmers and ranchers who market locally, regionally or direct to consumers and especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) producers. CFAP payments are based on national, wholesale prices that do not always reflect the real value of crops sold by farmers directly to the customers. The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) would address this concern by providing direct payments to local and regional food producers based on their historic revenue, and help their local markets as they both cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Local Farmer Act would:

  • Create an alternative coronavirus relief payment program for farmers that sell in local and regional markets based on their historic revenue, rather than price loss
  • Provide emergency response grants for farmers markets and local food enterprises to implement public health protections and coronavirus-smart marketing practices. Farmers markets have struggled with increased cost and decreased revenue, and enterprises like food hubs have contented with major market losses as school and institutional food services have halted. The Local Farmer Act includes $25 million for emergency grants through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program for farmers market operators and local food enterprises.  
  • Provide emergency response grants to direct marketing farmers to help them respond to shifting markets and adopt new socially-distant practices and sales models. In the wake of the pandemic, many producers need help to maintain or rebuild markets that have been severely impacted by the pandemic. The Local Farmer Act includes $25 million for emergency grants through the Value Added Producer Grant Program to assist producers’ efforts to adapt to new market environments.
  • Advance equity by prioritizing funding for BIPOC farmers and low-income communities of color and requiring data reporting from USDA for accountability.
  • Provide expanded outreach and technical assistance resources for organizations serving BIPOC farmers and ranchers. So that every historically underserved farmer can learn about, understand, and apply successfully for COVID-19 relief payments and emergency grants, the Local Farmer Act includes $50 million to support outreach and technical assistance through the Sec. 2501 program.

Additional program details are available in the attached two-page bill summary.

Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act

Rosa DeLauro, Sponsor. Representative for Connecticut's 3rd congressional district. Democrat.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1783

Foodprint Article:
https://foodprint.org/blog/glyphosate-residue-in-food/

Press release from Environmental Working Group: 

Contact: 

Alex Formuzis

(202) 667-6982

alex@ewg.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced legislation today to dramatically limit American children’s exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, in food. The bill would not only ban late-harvest spraying of glyphosate on oats but also require the federal government to test foods popular with children for the herbicide, which has been linked to cancer.

Key provisions in DeLauro’s bill include:

  • Prohibiting the spraying of glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent on oats.
  • Lowering by 300-fold the permissible level of glyphosate residues on oats, restoring the legally allowed level to just 0.1 parts per million, or ppm.
  • Requiring the Department of Agriculture to regularly test fruits, vegetables and other foods routinely fed to infants and children for glyphosate residues.

The most widely used pesticide in the U.S., glyphosate is mostly used as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybeans. But it is also increasingly sprayed on oats and other grains just before harvest as a drying agent, or desiccant. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out uniformly so that it can be harvested sooner. This makes harvesting easier but also increases the likelihood that the pesticide makes it into foods.

“We applaud Rep. DeLauro for once again advocating on behalf of children’s health,” said Colin O’Neil, EWG’s legislative director. “No parent should worry whether feeding their children healthy oat-based foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. We know farmers can harvest oats without glyphosate, and to protect kids’ health, this needlessly risky practice must stop.”

O’Neil explained that in the past two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has increased the level of glyphosate residue allowed on oats from 0.1 ppm to 30 ppm, largely to accommodate Canadian oat farmers who use it. The lax policy has resulted in the contamination of oat-based foods with the carcinogenic weedkiller.

Last year, independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate residues in popular oat-based foods marketed to children, such as Cheerios and Quaker oatmeal. Almost three-fourths of the samples tested had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. 

Requiring USDA to regularly test fruits, vegetables and other foods routinely fed to children for glyphosate residues will give parents and consumers vital information about potential pathways of exposure to the weedkiller, O’Neil said.

“It is shocking that USDA’s annual pesticide residue survey fails to include the most widely used pesticide in America,” he said. “Parents deserve to know how much of the food they buy and feed their children could potentially be contaminated with a highly toxic chemical listed by the state of California as a substance known to cause cancer. DeLauro’s bill is an important first step toward providing that information for consumers.”

Edition: 
September, 2020