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June 21st, 2012

Senate Passes Farm Bill

By Patty Lovera

Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch

Today the Senate passed the 2012 farm bill, by a vote of 64 to 35. Lots of the votes against the bill came from southern senators who don’t like changes made in the commodity crop programs in the bill, which shifted many crops more heavily into crop insurance instead of government commodity programs.

Overall, this version of the farm bill amounts to a missed opportunity to tackle the root problem in our food system: consolidation and corporate control. The leadership of the Senate did not allow important amendments on antitrust issues, like one that would have banned meatpacker ownership of livestock, from being considered.

The last two amendments we were paying particular attention to today both failed. The debate on the amendment by Senators Sanders and Boxer (S. Amdt. 2310) to allow states to require labeling of genetically engineered foods was long overdue. This amendment received 26 votes with 73 Senators voting against it. Obviously, there’s much more work to be done to ensure our right to know what we’re eating, but the fact that this amendment initiated a debate on the Senate floor is a solid step in the right direction.

And finally, common sense prevailed as Senator Toomey’s amendment that would exempt community water systems from a requirement to mail drinking water consumer confidence reports (S. Amdt. 2247) FAILED. Food & Water Watch opposed this amendment.

The next step in the process is for the House to work on their version of the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to begin work on the Farm Bill on July 11.

14 Comments on Senate Passes Farm Bill

  1. Christine Sepulveda says:

    Our senators have once again failed this country, and have sided with corporate interests versus what is best for people. The fact that such a high percentage of Americans are obese and unhealthy is indicative that there are serious issues with our diets. By supporting agrocorps and GMOs, our Senate has ensured the continued decline in health of our population. If GMOs are safe, then why don’t they want the information disclosed on the labels? If there is nothing to hide, then there should be no problem with disclosure. The fact that they want to hide this information from the public is an obvious admission of guilt!

  2. Tom Albrecht says:

    I would love to write my Senators but would need to see a list as to how they voted.

  3. Lois choiniere says:

    I will vote! And it will count. I will make lifestyle changes that will allow me to not buy products that are not clearly labeled ogantic and ingredients . I exspect a lot of new type of grocery stores to open in the future as there will be A real potential to make money by giving people what they want in the form of food. No ones going to tell me to eat food that is not labeled. It’s still not against the law to put A label on A food product to get more people to buy it. Lables equal money!

  4. Lois choiniere says:

    Labels equal money / More people will buy the products if they are labeled. I’t still not against the law to let your customers know what the ingredients are.

  5. julea bacall says:

    I don’t understand. Can my State still vote for Labeling of GMO’s??
    We are scheduled to. Vermont did it but Monsanto is sueing them. How can this be?? California wants Labeling. Can’t we vote it?

    • aghosh says:

      Hi Julea, yes you can absolutely vote for labeling in California. This amendment would have given states additional federal support in pursuing mandatory GE labeling. However, we firmly support statewide initiatives like the Right to Know ballot initiative in California.

  6. S. Urton says:

    I too would like to contact my Senators, but I do not know which way they voted. It would have been good to attach the voting ballot to your article.

  7. Juan Cervantes says:

    all foods are required to be labeled and generice food or meats are ne exceptions. Fish has labels where it is caught and fish farmed or natural. We as consumers should be protected. The labeling is just a safty net to fined the source in case of some distar thourgh new generice enginareing.Sham on u whom voted against this bill. dont come back later saying the old , I am Sorry.!!!!!!!

  8. mary macvicar says:

    And the dems wonder why we drag our feet contributing to them. Where’s the difference? The neocons could care less, and it looks like the regressive progressives are in it up to their eyeballs.

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