by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops -
to see a full copy of the statement go to - www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/ag605.htm
When the 2002 Farm Bill was passed, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) were critical of the projected $180 billion budget outlay for ten years, an 80 percent increase from the previous farm bill. The Conference was specifically concerned about Congress’ failure to target federal income support to those who needed it most, such as small and medium-sized farms. Despite the enormous price tag, several provisions in the Farm Bill, supported by the USCCB and the NCRLC, addressed inadequate hunger policies and the needs of rural communities. These provisions included: restoration of food stamp eligibility to legal immigrants; increased funding for conservation programs; innovative programs to assist new and beginning farmers and ranchers, and various rural development programs.
The USCCB continues to advocate on behalf of farm policies that enable our nation to maintain an agricultural system of diverse, family-owned and operated farms. “Policies and programs are needed that encourage rural development, promoting and maintaining the culture and values of rural communities. These should include policies that encourage a wide range of economic development strategies, especially by fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of rural people and investing in their education and training. They also should include policies that promote and support farming, support the efforts of farmers to establish cooperatives and other cooperative ventures, and encourage widespread diversity in farm ownership.
Limited government resources for subsidies and other forms of support should be targeted to small and moderate-sized farms, especially minority-owned farms, to help them through difficult times caused by changes in global agricultural markets or weather patterns that destroy crops. Agricultural subsidies often go to a few large producers, while smaller family farms struggle to survive. Rather than simply rewarding production, which can lead to surpluses and falling prices, government resources should reward environmentally sound and sustainable farming practices. Because of rising land prices, the cost of sophisticated equipment, and the difficulty of making a living, government resources are also needed to help new farmers and ranchers enter the field of agriculture.” (From 2002 Pastoral Statement, For I was Hungry And You Gave Me Food)
(June update)… Senator Grassley and others will bring forward an amendment to decrease or eliminate cuts to food stamps and conservation by passing a payment limitation reform amendment, bringing about the long-anticipated major farm policy showdown of the year. This promises to be an extremely contentious debate and should take the rest of the legislative session to resolve.
Office of Social Development & World Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
For more information about the payment limitations issue or how to help the Center for Rural Affairs and our allies win this fight - contact
John Crabtree, firstname.lastname@example.org,
402-687-2103 ext 1010
Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action