You know when you go to a workshop or conference and the speaker says, "Now, first, a little housekeeping." I always hate that. I mean, I like to know where the ladies room is, and the coffee, and the fire exits, and any late-breaking changes or alerts. But I hate that "now a little housekeeping" line.
Yet I was just about to say it. In fact, I was just about to make that the headline of this post (okay, there, I just did it), because I have a few updates for you and the thought of standing in front of you and asking for your attention for a moment just so I could inform you of a couple important things brought that line to mind.
A little housekeeping. Keeping our collective house in order. Making sure things are running smoothly. Avoiding confusion, and discord and yes, downright anarchy. That's appropriate here. Because, listen up, everyone, I know it's early and you battled traffic and rain (glorious rain in this drought-stricken city) to be here, but there's been a change in the raw milk hearing set for November 2 (To dye or not to dye? That is the question.) The venue has been changed to the Exhibit Hall at the Atlanta State Farmers’ Market located at 16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, Georgia 30297. The hours for the preliminary hearing are 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.
Oh, and one more thing before we start on our agenda for the day. The Farm Bill (big glaze-over). I know, I know, it's confusing and frustrating and you don't think you can do a thing about it. But it's coming out of the Senate mark-up committee and hitting the floor for debate today. Download the Farm Bill Action Guide. Contact your senators. Write letters to editors. Make your voice heard. It matters.
For those in Georgia, here are Georgia Organics' Farm Bill priorities, and the actions it recommends Georgia citizens taking.
Georgia Organics’ Farm Bill Priorities
- $25 million/year in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
- $15 million/year in mandatory funding for the Begining Farmer and Rancher and Development Program (BFRDP) .
- $25 million over 5 years for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program.
- An Organic Conversion Program to help farmers switch to organic practices with at least 50% of funding for technical assistance.
- $30 million for Community Food Projects
- $2 billion in new funding for the Comprehensive Stewardship Incentives Program (CSIP), which includes the new and improved Conservation Security Program and support for organic practices.
This is a crucial time to call Senators Isakson and Chambliss and let them know how you feel about the Farm Bill. The message is simple: “I am a constituent and am calling to urge Senator _________ to support increased funding in the new farm bill for conservation, rural development, beginning farmers, local food systems, organics, agricultural research, sustainable bioenergy programs, and beginning farmer and rancher development.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee) Phone: 202-224-3521 Fax: 202-224-0103 Email
Senator Johnny Isakson Phone: 202-224-3643 Fax: 202-228-0724 Email
So, help yourself to refreshments in the back of the room. And don't forget to fill out your customer satisfaction survey on the way out at the end of the day.