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[ft-l] Action alert for Leahy-Reid Farm Bill Cons. Proposal -- Contact Graham andNelson!

Hello FTA folks,

Below is information about a proposed farm bill in the Senate which is a
better bill than was passed in the House.  This Senate bill could provide
funding for conservation easements that may give us another tool to work
with private landowners to protect the route of the Florida National Scenic
Trail.  I believe that this bill in the Senate could potentially help us
more than the House bill so we should encourage Senator's Graham and Nelson
to support the Leahy-Reid bill.  Please contact Senator's Graham and Nelson
if this strikes a cord with you.  Thanks.


Kent L. Wimmer, AICP
Florida National Scenic Trail Liaison
Florida Trail Association, Inc.
(850) 942-9376 (w)
(850) 942-9378 (fax)
(850) 386-8442 (h)
Mailing address:
USDA Forest Service
National Forests in Florida
325 John Knox Rd, F-100
Tallahassee, FL 32303-4160

----- Forwarded by Kent Wimmer/NONFS/USDAFS on 11/05/2001 03:00 PM -----
                    Suzy Friedman                                                                                               
                    <sfriedman@environmentalde        To:     kwimmer@fs.fed.us                                                 
                    fense.org>                        cc:                                                                       
                                                      Subject:     Leahy-Reid Farm Bill Cons. Proposal -- Contact Graham and    
                    11/03/2001 04:54 PM               Nelson!                                                                   

Kent --

The week of November 5, Senators Leahy of Vermont and Reid of Nevada will
introduce their Farm Bill proposal, which will boost federal funds to
preserve farm, ranch, and forest lands, improve water quality, protect food

and drinking water supplies, restore habitat for wildlife, and more.
Because the House of Representatives approved an anti-environmental Farm
Bill that favors the very largest commodity crop producers at the expense
of all other farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, it is especially
critical that the Senate pass a conservation-oriented, regionally-equitable

Farm Bill.

Your help could make a big difference. Please call, fax, or email Senators
Graham and Nelson TODAY urging them to co-sponsor of the Leahy-Reid Farm
Bill proposal to help reward farmers, ranchers and private forest
landowners when they help meet our environmental challenges.

A sample letter and talking points are below. Please personalize the letter

as much as possible to have the greatest impact.

If you would like to see an outline of the Leahy-Reid proposal, visit

Phone and Fax Numbers:
Note -- because both Graham and Nelson's offices are in the Hart Senate
building, which has been closed due to anthrax, the best way to reach them
is by emailing their agriculture staffers. Info is below, along with phone
and fax for when the offices reopen, which will hopefully be soon.
Sen. Graham: Staffer -- Kasey Gillette; kasey_gillette@graham.senate.gov,
DC Phone: 202-224-3041; DC Fax: 202-224-2237
Sen. Nelson: Staffer -- Bridgette; bridget_walsh@billnelson.senate.gov, DC
Phone: 202-224-5274; DC Fax: 202-228-2183 or Nelson's Orlando office at
407) 872-7165 or via his web site at http://billnelson.senate.gov

For more information about the Environmental Defense's efforts to reform
agricultural practices, visit:

Questions? Contact Suzy Friedman, Agriculture Policy Analyst and Organizer,

at sfriedman@environmentaldefense.org


Dear Senators Graham and Nelson:

I urge you to co-sponsor Senator Leahy and Reid's Farm Bill proposal to
make conservation a centerpiece of the Farm Bill, ensure that Florida and
its farmers and forest landowners get their fair share of federal
agriculture support, and avoid violating world trade agreements related to
commodity subsidy limitations.
There is growing national support for such major reform of federal
agricultural programs from the Bush Administration, 200 members of the
House of Representatives, and groups and individuals around the nation.
Refocusing farm subsidies on conservation would provide benefits to many
more farmers across the nation, would ensure that all states received their

fair share of federal farm dollars, would help resolve the many major
environmental challenges linked to management of private lands, and would
make better use of taxpayer dollars. Because this effort was narrowly
defeated, the need for your leadership to ensure a conservation-oriented,
regionally equitable Senate Farm Bill has never been more urgent.

While farmers in some states receive as much as 27 cents back from the
federal government in direct farm payments for every dollar of farm produce

they generate, Florida receives only ONE PENNY. The need in Florida for
increased funding for agriculture conservation programs is great. In FY'01
alone, Florida had an unmet need for more than $72 11 million in USDA
conservation funding, including more than $34.6 million in unmet requests
from farmers to reduce polluted runoff and to protect water quality.
Florida also has a cumulative backlog of almost $19 million in requests for

federal farmland protection funding to preserve agricultural lands and curb

sprawling development.

The Leahy-Reid Farm Bill proposal would bring many more federal farm
dollars to Florida to help our state's environment and agricultural
communities. It would provide an average of $440 million a year to protect
farmland and open space from sprawl, $430 million a year to restore
wildlife habitat, $1.5 billion a year to reduce polluted runoff, $54
million a year for organic farming programs, $25 million a year to improve
water conservation, and $50 million a year each to protect and restore
grasslands and grazing lands. Their proposal would also restore 250,000
acres of wetlands each year and include a key provision that allows states,

local governments and tribes to submit plans to coordinate all federal
agriculture and forestry conservation programs in critical areas,
watersheds, and corridors in an integrated manner with state and local
Boosting annual funding for voluntary incentive-based conservation programs

not only helps protect the environment, but also contributes to farm and
ranch income, helps ease regulatory burdens, and reduces water treatment
costs, and ensure that all farmers -- including Florida's dairy farmers,
livestock operators, and fruit and vegetable producers -- are eligible for
federal assistance.

Unless we reward farmers when they meet our environmental challenges,
one-third of our rivers and lakes will remain polluted, hundreds of species

will creep closer to extinction, and millions of acres of open space will
be lost forever.
I urge you to co-sponsor the Leahy-Reid Farm Bill proposal to ensure that
the next Farm Bill helps protect Florida's natural resources, public
health, and agricultural communities.


Talking Points for Calls to Senators
 With a House Farm Bill (HR 2646) that is anti-environmental, regionally
inequitable, and slanted in favor of the nation's largest farms, it is
imperative that the Senate Farm Bill be conservation oriented, fair to all
states, and meet the needs and challenges facing all farmers today and in
the future.  Please cosponsor the Leahy-Reid Farm Bill proposal to ensure
that the next Farm Bill achieves these goals.
 Under the House Farm Bill, federal farm spending would leave almost 60
percent of our nation's farmers and ranchers without support, while sending

almost half of federal agricultural payments to a mere 8 percent of our
nation's producers. If signed into law, Florida will continue to be denied
their fair share of federal farm dollars, despite the importance of our
state's agriculture.
 Instead, the Leahy-Reid Farm Bill proposal would ensure that funds are
spread more equitably to promote conservation efforts, rural development,
and the health of agricultural communities.
 Please be a leader for our state and its environment, farmers, and
communities by cosponsoring the Leahy-Reid proposal and encouraging other
Senators to do the same.

For more talking points on agriculture conservation, visit

Questions? Contact Suzy Friedman, Agriculture Policy Analyst and Organizer,

at sfriedman@environmentaldefense.org

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