Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Path towards a Just and Fair Farm Bill Continues in the Senate

Make your voice heard by clicking here as proposed amendments to the Farm Bill go before the Senate for a vote.

The Senate is currently considering a number of amendments to the Farm Bill that affect not only farmers, but people across the country, the world, and the conservation of our nation’s lands as well. We must act quickly to share with the Senate our vision for a Farm Bill that puts the needs of the hungry before the profits of select businesses.

We remember these words from Nehemiah 9:6: “You are the Lord, you alone; you have made . . . the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life . . .”

With the words of the prophet in mind, we affirm the life of this earth and all who live in it. We raise our voice to speak up concerning the following amendments to the Farm Bill. It is not yet clear which of the proposed amendments will receive a vote on the Senate floor, but please make sure to tell your Senator that the following amendments are important to you.

Tell your Senator you SUPPORT Farm Bill amendments that:
·         - Restores funding to SNAP, funds the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program for hungry children, and reduces subsidies for crop insurance. Sen. Gillibrand of New York has put forth this amendment.
·         - Limits consolidation in the meat industry, as proposed by Sen. Grassley from Iowa.
·         - Reforms crop insurance subsidies so that the largest farms do not receive federal subsidies for insurance that they can afford. Sen. Coburn from Oklahoma lifts this up in his amendment.
·         - Funds rural development while increasing funding for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, as proposed by Sen. Brown of Ohio and Sen. Nelson of Nebraska.
·         - Makes conservation compliance a requirement for farmers with crop insurance. Sen. Lautenberg from New Jersey has brought this amendment.
·         - Increases funding for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers, as proposed by Sen. Udall of New Mexico.

To protect our farms and farmers, and those who rely up on them, these next amendments must be DEFEATED in the upcoming days. These amendments:
·         - Limit the categorical eligibility for SNAP, so people who are eligible for SNAP cannot automatically enrolled be in the program, causing them a delay in their benefits, proposed by Sen. Sessions of Alabama.
·         - Deny SNAP benefits to eligible citizens if anyone else living in their household cannot produce proper proof of documentation, also proposed by Sen. Sessions.
·         - Cap SNAP spending at FY2010 levels and make it part of a block grant. Sen. Graham of South Carolina puts forth this amendment.
·         - Veer the bill off the topic of fair farming by requesting an investigation of the effect of the looming sequester (automatic budget cuts) on the nation’s military, which Sen. McCain of Arizona has filed.

Now is the time to send the message that farm policies need to be founded on principles of justice and fairness. Continue the witness that you have shown on behalf of the Farm Bill and the people it represents. Tell Congress that you take seriously the care of God’s creation and God’s people.

Thank you for your advocacy on the Farm Bill already. Your work makes a difference! Yesterday, shortly after you received our Action Alert, the Senate voted 65 to 33 to table Sen. Paul’s amendment to put SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) into a block grant, where it would have been underfunded and unable to respond to the rising needs of hungry families. Thank you for your efforts, and congratulations on keeping SNAP from shrinking!