Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tell Your Congressman - Fix the Farm Bill & Invest in Rural America

Tell Your Congressman: Fix the Farm Bill & Invest in Rural America

August Congressional recess may be the last chance to directly communicate with your representatives before the 2007 farm bill

by Chuck Hassebrook, chuckh@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

Take the opportunity this month to tell your congressman to fix the farm bill and invest in the future of rural America.

The August Congressional recess will likely bring your congressman to your area to hear from constituents. It may be your last chance to share your views directly prior to the 2007 farm bill.

The future of family farming is at stake. Tell your representative we cannot afford one more farm bill that subsidizes mega farms to drive smaller operations out of business. It is destroying family farming and closing the door to beginning farmers. It is driving land rents and prices to levels that leave little margin, making it hard for even established family farmers to make a living.

Ask your representative to stand firm against any farm bill that continues the destruction of family farming through mega payments to mega farms. Say that delivering more dollars to farmers is not the solution. Done wrong, it contributes to the problem. The most effective thing Congress can do to strengthen family farms is to stop subsidizing mega farms to drive their neighbors out of business by capping payments.

The future of our rural communities is at stake. Tell your representative it’s time to invest in the future of rural communities. Practical strategies work in rural America – investing in small scale entrepreneurship and micro enterprise, beginning farmers, value added agriculture, leadership development, and youth engagement enable small communities to determine their destiny. But they are not free.

Don’t fall for the statement that there is no new money for anything. Common sense reforms would make farm programs work better and save money. It starts with more effective payment limitations. Ending direct payments on farmland converted to housing developments would yield additional savings.

Reforms that reduce farm program costs by just 5 percent could fund a half billion dollar per year increase in funding for entrepreneurial rural development – a quadrupling of current funding levels – plus provide a quarter billion dollars to invest in bio energy, high-speed Internet service, and other rural priorities.

The future of the land is at stake. Tell your representative to reward farmers who practice good stewardship through the Conservation Security Program. For too long, many of the best stewards have been penalized by federal farm policy.

These practical reforms are possible with determined leadership. Each of us must fulfill our responsibilities as citizens to engage with elected officials in fixing what is broken. Our elected officials must have some backbone. Tell those who would represent you that it’s time to stand up. The future of rural America is at stake. It’s not time to look for the easy and safest path.It is time to take control of our destiny.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

1 Comments:

  • At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I told my representative - Steve King - to rewrite the farm bill and limit farm payments and invest in rural development

    Whiting, Iowa

     

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