By Alex Baumgarten
Alex Baumgarten is international policy analyst in the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations in Washington DC.
Inspired by Jesus’ command to care for poor and hungry people, Christians are organizing throughout the country to advocate for changes in U.S. agricultural policy that benefit family farmers, hungry neighbors, God’s creation, and people living in poverty around the world.
This year, Congress will rewrite or renew the U.S. Farm Bill, a comprehensive law that governs U.S. agricultural, food, and farmland policies. Our nation’s current system of cash payments for some farmers benefits primarily large agricultural producers while leaving behind most small- and medium-sized farm families. The present commodity-payment system also hurts struggling farmers in poor countries and fuels the poverty that claims 30,000 lives a day around the world.
Your voice is needed to push Congress to make meaningful changes in current farm policies. Over the summer, the House of Representatives passed a bill that largely continues the current system. The burden for passing fair farm policies now moves to the Senate, which will act this fall.
Join other people of faith in advocating for a Farm Bill that:
- Ensures that commodity payments go to those who need them most rather than the large-scale producers that receive more than 75% of current payments.
- Reduces the harm of U.S. agricultural policies to farmers and families living in deadly poverty around the world; and
- Strengthens nutrition, conservation, and rural-development programs.
Helping farmers everywhere
Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network and sponsor a postcard campaign by sending your Senators postcards from your state telling them to write a just Farm Bill (visit www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn)
Call your Senators’ offices and tell them you expect their leadership in creating fair agriculture policies. (Main Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.)
Join the cooperative efforts of the five denominations at www.faithfarmteams.com
Other places of interest:
Reforming the Farm Bill an op-ed piece over on the blog of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
More on a Farm Bill to Feed the Nation here.