Thursday, July 11, 2013

House Moves to Split Farm Bill

“The Farm Bill’s future remained in serious doubt in the House Tuesday even after a reluctant Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said he would support splitting the measure to allow separate votes on the nutrition title.” Politico.  This split is a dismantling of the original purpose of the Farm Bill and will be devastating to the impoverished.

Historically, the Presbyterian Church has supported  “agriculture and food supply in accordance with the following principles and goals: renewability, sustainability, resilience, minimized carbon emissions, participatory research and decision-making, revitalized rural communities, strong local food economies, security of food supply, ethical treatment of animals, and fair and dignified treatment of persons working throughout the food chain.]”  This idea of connected agriculture and food supply is necessary for proper stewardship and protection of the marginalized.

The Farm bill came together originally as a coalition of rural and urban representatives looking to help assure food security for all.  This coalition is now being pulled apart in a partisan squabble.  Forgetting the key protections offered for the people they represent, instead focus has shifted to what team their allegiance lies with.    

Chairman Lucas under pressures from partisan efforts has decided to move towards a farm bill in which we split the nutrition piece from other titles.  For those of you who have followed us you know that there are many different titles that make up the Farm Bill.  These pieces include commodities, conservation, trade, rural development, energy, and of course nutrition.  This will leave SNAP (formerly Food Stamps stranded and probably prone to cuts far more severe than the already unbearable $20 billion likely to come.

All of these pieces are a part of an “agricultural and food supply” as the general assembly overture states.  This keeps in mind that “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it” (Ps. 24: 1). 

Write your House Members today – tell them to oppose a split farm bill that forgets the connection of agriculture to food supply!