I’m writing to ask Sen. Susan Collins to continue to stand up for farmers and healthy food in Maine and beyond.

First, I want to thank her for co-sponsoring two important bills in 2017: the Local Farms Act and the Organic Agriculture Research Act.

Unfortunately, the farm bill as originally drafted has the opposite intent of those proposals. So, I was pleased to see that it failed in the House.

It’s now up to Sen. Collins and others in the Senate to compose a better version.

Specifically, I hope they will:

Include full funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. As noted in a recent Maine Voices column (April 30), One in seven Mainers is on SNAP, and 68 percent of those are families. This means many children rely on SNAP not to go hungry.

Support SNAP without a work requirement. Those using these benefits may not be able to find work for a number of reasons, such as living in a place with varying, seasonal employment – a place like Maine.

Keep all our food, water and people safe by limiting the use of pesticides. This includes requiring that the Environmental Protection Agency consider the impact of pesticides on endangered species. Thanks to conservationist and author Rachel Carson, who herself spent much time in Maine, we know too well how damaging pesticides are and how those negative effects ripple outward. Loosening restrictions on them would send us back on the path to having a truly silent spring.

I know Sen. Collins cares about the health of the people of Maine and the beauty of our state, and crafting a farm bill that will protect all of us is the best way for her to show that.

Erica Bartlett

Portland