What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Farmers : (H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have provided $5 million to assist farms in transitioning to organic production methods. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such legislation is known as a “continuing resolution, or “CR”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs. (2011 house Roll Call 49)
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(H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have provided $5 million to assist farms in transitioning to organic production methods. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such legislation is known as a “continuing resolution, or “CR”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
house Roll Call 49     Feb 16, 2011
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that would have provided $5 million to assist farms in transitioning to organic production methods. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such bills are known as “continuing resolutions, or “CRs”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.

DeFazio urged support for his amendment: “In the most recent statistics, the organic sector of the agriculture production in this country was nearly $27 billion. That's up from $4 billion in 1997. There are over 14,500 family farms engaged in organic agriculture, and they have been experiencing dramatic increases. Now you might say, well, why would we want to continue to research and help them. Well, we're spending a tremendous amount of money in research and subsidies on other crops which are obviously totally developed and do not need assistance. In this case, we're talking about many people who own struggling family farms who want to convert [to organic methods]. They're interested in moving to organics because they know there is potential for higher profitability with those products with dramatically increasing demand.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) opposed the amendment: “…If you consider that organic farming is a $25 to $27 billion industry--in fact, my friend Mr. DeFazio just used the number $27 billion--it is a successful ongoing and growing industry already, and I do not believe that we need to continue the transition subsidy program to get more farmers in it. American farmers know where the profit is. They follow the commodity. The commodity follows the profit. They get into an area where it is going to be most profitable already.”

The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 136-296. Voting “yea” were 127 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 9 Republicans. 231 Republicans and 65 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have provided $5 million to assist farms in transitioning to organic production methods.

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