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Southern SAWG Newsletter  Volume 9,  #4


                             July 2012

Dear Friends,

We are closely following the moves of our elected officialslks in Washington, DC as the Farm Bill is debated in the halls of Congress. Much work remains to be done. The Farm Bill will determine much of food and ag policy for the next five years.


Much closer to home, July is here, and the tomatoes, peaches, corn, and watermelon were well worth the wait. 


Meanwhile, in spite of the extreme heat, we have been receiving weekly boxes of organic bounty from our CSA farmer. Don't wait too long to try the roasted fennel - it's easy and tasty!


 --Your friends at Southern SAWG

Farm Bill Action Alerts
Farm Bill Passes House Ag Committee
Sneak Preview: The Next SSAWG Video
Job Opportunities - GA
A Few Good Reasons to Save Farmland
2013 Conference Dates
Join Our Mailing List

 2012 Farm Bill Action Heats Up!



Stay up-to-date with Action Alerts at



Farm Bill Passes House Ag Committee

by Gabraelle Lane & Lydia Villanueva, SSAWG Policy Organizers


The House Agriculture Committee Passes a Farm Bill (35-11)!


Early Thursday morning the House Agriculture committee passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act 2012 (FARRM) otherwise known as the Farm Bill.  This bill provided some gains and some losses for the sustainable agriculture community.


We urge you to take a look at the amendments located on our policy page in the resources section and to read the overview provided by NSAC's policy team also located on our policy page


Below is a quick glimpse of the support received in this Farm Bill:

  •       Specialty Crop Block Grants at $70 million per year       
  •       Specialty Crop Research Initiative at $25 million in FY13; $30 million in FY14-15;     
          $65 million in FY16; and $50 million in FY17
  •       Plant Pest and Disease programs at $71.5 million starting in FY13. This is an increase 
          over the Senate version
  •       Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at 2008 Farm Bill levels        
  •       Section 32 specialty crop purchases at 2008 Farm Bill levels        
  •       DoD Fresh Program at 2008 Farm Bill levels        
  •       Farmer's Market and Local Food Promotion Programs
    o   Farmer's Market Promotion Program expanded to include the development of 
                    Food Hubs
    o   Improves ease of SNAP benefits at Farmer's Markets, Mobile Markets and
                    Community Supported Agriculture
    o   Authority given to the USDA to test mobile technologies for ease of use at
                    Farmer's Markets, Farm Stands and other non-traditional retailers

Best case scenario next steps are the House passes the Farm Bill and negotiations take place in conference committee to have a final bill before the current bill expires on September 30th.  Worst case scenario a long term extension is granted and we start this process again in the next Congress. 


If you are interested in finding out about what all of this means for your organization, please join our policy list by e-mailing  By joining this list you will be notified of our policy calls that are designed to keep you up-to-date on legislative matters that affect the way you conduct business. We look forward to hearing from you!

LA Farm

Livestock farm in Louisiana

Photo by Jean Mills

Sneak Preview: 
New SSAWG Video is almost here (really)...  

The new video will be the 12th title in the award-winning Natural Farming in the South series. We're still editing the video, but here's another hint for what will be covered in the video...this farmer presented at a previous Southern SAWG Conference.

Previous topics in the series include pastured broilers, cut flowers, pastured turkeys, organic horticulture, marketing, and many more. Each of these high-quality, user-friendly educational tools provides valuable information for those seeking practical information on sustainable farming enterprises and community food systems for the South.

Please visit our website for ordering information

Good Food Job Opportunities in Georgia

The good folks at Georgia Organics have a couple of job openings for a Farm-to-School Assistant and a Communications Coordinator. Check out the Georgia Organics website for more details. 


A Few Good Reasons to Save Farmland

from Americam Farmland Trust 

  • Throughout the United States, we lose two acres of agricultural land to development every minute of every day. That adds up to more than 2,500 acres a day-over one million acres a year.
  • 86 percent of America's fruits and vegetables, and 63 percent of our dairy products come from urban and suburban areas under the threat of development.
  • Well managed farmland shelters wildlife, supplies scenic open space, helps filter impurities from our air and water, and has the opportunity to help solve some of our country's most pressing environmental problems.
  • The U.S. food and farming system contributes nearly $1 trillion to the national economy-or more than 13 percent of the gross domestic product-and employs 17 percent of the labor force.

Read more of Reasons to Save Farmland at American Farmland Trust. 

Make your plans for our next conference!

The 22nd Annual Conference will be held at

The Peabody Hotel January 23-26, 2013 in Little Rock, AR.

Schedule will be available online in October.  

Would you or your company benefit by reaching thousands of farmers and food people in 13 States in the South?

Would you like to help family farms?

Are you interested in good food/local food?

If so, you can become a 2013 Conference Sponsor!


If you or your business would like to sponsor the 2013 Conference in Little Rock, AR,
please contact Julia Sampson, (479) 251-8310, Email:

 We appreciate your support.
To make a donation online or download a form
to mail to us with your check
click here

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Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Inc. (Southern SAWG) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to promote sustainable agriculture in the Southern United States.