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National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
Rural Development and Ag Marketing Committee
See the '97 Annual
Meeting Overview for details about how NCSA reached consensus on these and
- Agriculture Bargaining Act: This amendment to the Agricultural
Fair Practices Act of 1967 requires that the Secretary of Agriculture establish
a system for accrediting voluntary-membership Producer Associations upon
petition by the growers of a commodity who seek to bargain with a handler under
the provisions of the proposed law. A second provision of the amendment makes
good faith bargaining a mutual obligation of both parties. Although the parties
are not required to reach agreement under the Act, the Secretary of Agriculture
may prescribe mediation between the parties under certain circumstances. A
final provision authorizes enforcement procedures to make the legislation
meaningful. Support of this amendment would provide a self-help tool for
improving farm income without excessive over burdensome government involvement.
- Rule on Organic Food Production Act: Accelerate implementation of
the National Organic Program. Push USDA to devote sufficient resources to ensure
rapid accreditation of certifying agents enforcing the National Organic
- Captive Supplies -- Packers and Stockyards Act: Press USDA to
use its authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act to regulate the way
packers acquire cattle for slaughter. Support regulations which will change the
unfair monopolistic practices of packers.
- Labeling: The Campaign will engage in consumer education on
labeling issues as they pertain to national policies. Issues involved under
- Bio-engineered food products.
- Country of Origin labeling.
- Organic/Sustainable labeling.
- Family Farm labeling.
- Follow-up to World Food Summit: The Campaign will facilitate
collaboration between member groups who are participating in the congressional
debate concerning NAFTA. We will oppose the fast track approval of proposed
additions to the NAFTA. Members will participate in the meeting scheduled to
take place in Washington in June on the impacts of NAFTA.
- Safety Net Bill: The 1996 Farm Bill eliminated many of the
mechanisms that had helped to ensure that farmers received a minimum price for
their commodities. "Freedom to Farm" payments were used as a
rationalization for dismantling the commodity loan rate program and eliminating
the farmer owned reserve. In January the "Restore the Farm Bill Safety Net"
bill was introduced. It removes the current cap on the commodity loan rate --
enabling it to rise to a level based on an average based on the previous five
years' average market price, dropping the high and low year. The proposed
legislation extend the terms of the loan an additional six months beyond the
current nine month loan, giving farmers the opportunity to hold their grain
beyond harvest time when the market is most flooded and prices are at their
- Fund For Rural America: The Campaign will work to ensure complete
funding for the Fund for Rural America and make sure that the intent of the
program is met in implementation. We will develop and present recommendations
to USDA for year two of implementation. The Campaign will also work to make
sure that the evaluation panels for the grants are staffed with people
knowledgeable in sustainable agriculture. We will work for long-term funding
after the three-year funding mechanism runs out.
- Remove ban on organically labeled meats: Currently, organically
grown meats sold across state lines may not be labeled as organic. The Campaign
will petition Secretary Glickman remove the ban on organically labeled meats.
©1997 Committee for
Sustainable Farm Publishing
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