Marlin L Burkholder gleneco1 at juno.com
Mon Aug 20 18:52:47 EDT 2001

Dear All,

        This is worth doing.  Call both Senators George Allen and John
Warner, and urge them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" letter sponsored
by Senator Tim Johnson calling for a competition title within the 2002
Farm Bill.

Southern Sustainable Ag Working Group

Greetings SAWG organizers.

Everyone should have received my e-mail to the Competition &
Concentration Subcommittee about some good news and next steps.

Whereas at one time the prospect of a competition title looked like the
underdog, it may now be the strongest dog in the pack.  We pulled off
what many folk in the ag policy arena didn't think was possible -- we
took what were viewed as disparate pieces related to competition,
concentration and contract ag and brought them together in a unified,
integrated comprehensive farm bill initiative.  The groups that have
championed the various policy "pieces" came together to create a single,
unified whole.  I think it is a beautiful thing to behold.

We have significant staff support on the Hill.  Jonathan Lehman, a
staffperson for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, wants to see work on
a competition title proceed and is going to help us make it happen.  Doug
O'Brien with the Organization for Competitive Markets was very involved
in the drafting of the competition initiative and he is now going to work
for the Senate Ag Committee at the end of next week.

What we need to build is a huge groundswell of grassroots support.  We
need to deliver midwest Senators to be certain, but more importantly we
need to deliver Senators in the northeast, south, and west including
California.  To win in the Senate Ag Committee, we have to show big
support among Senators who are not on the committee.  Expression of this
support will come in the form of Senators signing on to the "Dear
Colleague" letter sponsored by Senator Tim Johnson calling for a
competition title.

Another reason we need to build grassroots support is the sheer mass of
the opposition we will be facing.  Opposition to this title will come
from big livestock, big dairy, big poultry, big fruit, big vegetables,
big organic, big tobacco, big grain.....you get the picture.  We have
gotten their attention.  Representative Clayton introduced and withdrew a
contract bargaining rights amendment during the House Ag Committee farm
bill mark-up.  In response to this offer of a withdrawn amendment, Purdue
Chicken had a lead lobbyist leave his vacation in Germany to come to D.C.
to talk to Ms. Clayton.  This is in response to a withdrawn amendment!  

On Monday the National Campaign will issue an alert to everyone on our
e-mail list urging them to call their Senators to tell them to sign on to
the Johnson letter.  If you have the time, please put some energy behind
this alert.  I am asking the same of the groups participating in the
Competition and Concentration Subcommittee.

Competition, concentration and contract agriculture have not always been
recognized as important issues within the sustainable ag movement, but
these are, in fact, core structural issues.  People are apparently
getting it.  Since we began "tracking" responses to e-mail alerts in
January, the greatest response thus far has been to the first alert
calling for people to get their Senators signed on to Johnson's letter.

I'll be in touch.  Please let me know if you have any questions or

Chris Campany, Farm Bill Coordinator
National Campaign For Sustainable Agriculture
P.O. Box 396
Pine Bush, New York  12566
Phone: 845-744-8448   Fax: 845-744-8477
e-mail: chris at sustainableagriculture.net
If you would like to join our free Action Alert Network, please e-mail us
your name, address, phone, fax, and e-mail.  Please let us know if your
contact information changes!

Keep the faith!
Forwarded by Marlin and Christine Burkholder
Singers Glen, VA

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