Urgent Farm Bill Action Alert – May 23, 2013
Contact your Senators ASAP and tell him/her to support Senator Tester’s Farm Bill amendment to improve seed choices for American farmers and strengthen U.S. agriculture.
Call the Congress switchboard toll-free at (877) 757-6910 and ask to be connected with your senators. Be sure to state your full name, city and state. Explain why you are calling. Be polite, but firm. You can use the following message:
Hello, my name is ________ and I am a (constituent or current/former farmer). Will the Senator please support the Farm Bill amendment sponsored by Senator Tester that aims to reinvigorate classical plant breeding? This amendment will ensure farmers have the seed they need to be successful, especially organic farmers. Developing regionally appropriate seed varieties that are held in the public domain is critical to the future of agriculture.
Background: Why this issue is critically important
The full Senate is taking up the 2013 Farm Bill debate this week, and, right now, there is no language in the bill that will reinvigorate classical breeding and ensure access to publicly owned varieties. If the Senate Farm Bill goes through in its current form, American farmers and researchers looking for publicly owned crop varieties will find themselves with almost no options. This will be especially harmful to organic farmers who are already faced with a lack of suitable organic seed varieties.
Right now, the overwhelming majority of federal research dollars go to developing patented crop varieties through genomics research. These projects require large budgets and usually focus on a few major traits in the major field crops. Alone, they are not enough to protect American farmers and our global food supply.
Montana Senator Jon Tester is introducing an amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill that aims to reinvigorate classical plant breeding and public cultivar development. This amendment would clarify and hone the definition of classical/conventional seed breeding to remove the hurdles that have hindered USDA’s efforts in funding and supporting classical breeding projects.
Press Release: More than 100 groups urge Congress to support Tester Amendment in 2013 Farm Bill (May 22, 2013)