Fix the Farm Bill

Congress has failed to pass a 2012 Farm Bill, which leaves several rural development and beginning farmer programs at risk of their funds evaporating into thin air because of the way federal budgeting works.
The House of Representatives did, however, recently approve a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through next March, putting regular FY 2013 appropriations on hold and passing a 6-month extension of 2012 spending instead.  The Senate will vote and is likely to approve the same bill soon.

While this bill funds programs such as the Value Added Producer Grant Program, it cuts other rural development programs, like the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program that provides loans and technical assistance for rural small business development.

It also decimates some important conservation programs. Programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program, Wetlands Reserve Program and Grassland Reserve Program. The bill caps these programs at the same level of funding as they had for 2012, providing only enough money to pay farmers and ranchers who already have contracts and preventing new enrollments.

While members of Congress are home campaigning for votes, let them know this is unacceptable. Ask them to stand up for your district and get their work done. Urge them to fund conservation programs, not cut them. And ask them to finish the Farm Bill and ensure crucial support for rural development and beginning farmers and ranchers is available now, when our rural communities need it most.

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