Making Democracy Work

National Agriculture Update 2014

The 2012 LWVUS Convention voted to update the League's position on agriculture which was adopted back in 1988. The League's current position encompasses support for federal policies that encourage sustainable agriculture, federal funding for research, information and technical assistance, and federal loans to farm operations that need it.

LWVUS Study to Update Agriculture Position

The Agriculture Update voted by Convention includes new technology issues, including genetically modified seeds and other organisms; accurate food labeling; and federal financing and regulation of farm-related issues. Since the scope of this study is so broad, the National League's volunteer committee took longer than usual to research and publish resource papers that local Leagues need to develop presentations to their members. Since the resource papers and the consensus questions accompanying them have only recently become available, and our local response to them is due by mid-April, the LWVCC study committee has limited the scope of what we will study and discuss to the role of government in protecting food safety, the use of new technologies affecting the food supply, setting standards for food labeling and government funding for research on new crops, products, and processes. In addition we will consider the impact of the Farm Bill, a piece of major legislation, on our food supply. We will not address the details of various federal financing programs currently in use.

A Conversation with Local Agriculture Expert Jen Hashley

Monday, February 24 at 1 pm at Fowler Library in West Concord.

Jen Hashley is a co-owner of Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds and farmyard and the Director of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project at Tufts University.

Topics to be addressed as part of the LWVUS study include Animal Management, Research and Development, Food Safety and Food Labeling.

Interested members are invited to attend. (This will be a continuation of the snow-interrupted meeting with Ms. Hashley on February 18.)

Consensus Meetings

The LWVCC will hold two consensus meetings on March 19th, one in the morning and one in the evening at locations to be announced. At these meetings our study committee will present information on the topics above as the basis for discussion leading to our response to the LWVUS.

Introductory Readings

For a short useful introduction to current agricultural issues the LWVUS recommends that interested members review the following resources:

1. The Healthy Farm: A Vision for U.S. Agriculture, a Union of Concerned Scientists Policy Brief, Union of Concerned Scientists

2.Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?, Scientific American

3. Challenges and Opportunities in U.S. Agriculture (Chapter 8 of the Economic Report of the President-2013) [pdf download]

LWVUS Agriculture Update Committee Materials

Papers from the national committee and links to resources on the LWVUS website can be found here:
Agricultural Update|League of Women Voters

For More Information

Contact Nancy Cronin at 978-369-5399 or nrcronin@verizon.net