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USCCB issues urgent action alert on farm bill

Catholic World News - June 20, 2012

As the Senate began voting on the 2012 Farm Bill, the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Catholics to “call your Senators and urge them to support a fair Farm Bill.”

“The Senate has agreed to debate over 70 amendments,” the action alert stated. “Some of these amendments will make devastating cuts to programs that help poor and vulnerable people while others will restore proposed cuts to these programs.”

“Urge your Senators to oppose cuts to critical programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and conservation programs that help people and communities in need,” the action alert added. “Tell them to support amendments that restore cuts to SNAP (food stamps), support targeted assistance for crop insurance to small and medium sized farms, promote growth in US rural communities, adequately fund international food assistance and development programs, and encourage stewardship of creation.”

After speaking of the importance of a half dozen federal programs—including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Value-Added Producer Grants, and the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)—the action alert continued:

The Senate plan will reduce agriculture funding over 10 years by $23 billion. This includes over $4 billion in proposed cuts to the food stamp (SNAP) program and over $6 billion in cuts to conservation programs. At a time of continued unemployment and high levels of poverty, the Senate should oppose cuts to effective anti-hunger programs that help people live in dignity.

The Senate’s proposal calls for ending some subsidies (direct payments) and this is a step in the right direction. We agree it is important to support crop insurance and other safety net programs for struggling farmers and ranchers who are truly in need of assistance. But further reductions and re-direction of subsidies that disproportionately go to larger growers and agribusiness are still needed. Savings from cuts to subsidies should be used to support hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry, poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Jun. 21, 2012 6:22 PM ET USA

    The Bishops are behaving like cafeteria Catholics and the partisans they warn us not to be.

  • Posted by: skypilot77701 - Jun. 21, 2012 8:27 AM ET USA

    As a Catholic and a farmer, I am opposed to this bill and have sign petitions and sent appeals to my Senators asking them to vote it down. Why? This bill is a big handout (in the billions) to big agribusiness and does not benefit the independent family farm in the least. The USCCB is backing this bill because its tied to their "precious" food stamp programs that they mistakenly think are the outcome of genuine Catholic social teaching. The USCCB is clueless on the concept of subsidiarity.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Jun. 20, 2012 9:15 PM ET USA

    Our USCCB leadership does not understand political issues - especially when they are connected to social issues (vide - immigration act) and support evil means (pushed by Obama) hoping for a right outcome. Sorry, we need our bishops to fight for our religion and leave other issues to the MAGISTERIUM!!!!

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