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USCCB weighs in on 2012 Farm Bill

Catholic World News - March 07, 2012

Bishops Stephen Blaire and Richard Pates, the chairmen respectively of the Committee on Domestic Justice and the Committee on International Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), are urging senators to see the 2012 Farm Bill as “an opportunity to address our nation’s broken and outdated agricultural policies.”

The presidents of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference joined the prelates in their appeal.

“This is a crucial time to build a more just framework that puts poor and hungry people first, serves small and moderate-sized family farms, promotes sustainable stewardship of the land and helps vulnerable farmers and rural communities both at home and in developing countries,” they wrote.

After discussing domestic hunger and nutrition, international food security and development, conservation, and rural development, the prelates and the other signatories turned to the topic of agricultural subsidies.

The Commodity Title was established to provide a safety net for farmers and it is important to continue a reasonable amount of support for our commodity and dairy farmers. In these times of financial hardship, our public policies should call for shared sacrifice. Given current high commodity prices and federal budget constraints, agricultural subsidies and direct payments can be reduced overall, and targeted to small and moderate-sized farms, especially minority owned-farms. Government resources should assist those who truly need assistance and support those who comply with environmentally sound and sustainable farming practices.

Referring to ethanol subsidies, they added, “We also call for a careful consideration of the economics and ethics of subsidizing food to produce fuel.”

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  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 07, 2012 9:18 PM ET USA

    There is a saying "we get too late smart." One wonders if it's even possible for our secularist USCCB and secularist liberal bishops to ever learn their proper functions and perform them. What a mess we are in.

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 07, 2012 6:46 PM ET USA

    Dear Bishops Blaire and Pates, and other politically minded members of the USCCB, Your statement on the 2012 Farm Bill does not appear to be an attempt to educate the Catholic faithful or to lead them to defend a teaching of the Church. Rather, it looks like an attempt to influence the members of the U.S. Senate regarding their votes on the farm bill. That is politics, and the proper way to participate is to run for office. cc: U.S. Catholic bishops

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