Priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill
Catholic Charities USA, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Rural Life, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul wrote to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives urging members to maintain certain priorities for U.S. food and agriculture policy as they consider the 2018 Farm Bill. The letters state that American policies should provide for poor and hungry people here and abroad, offer effective support for those who grow our food, ensure fairness to family farmers and ranchers while building up rural communities, and promote good stewardship of the land. The full letters can be read here.
RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERYONE FOR THE COMMON GOOD
The demands of the common good are dependent on the social conditions of each historical period and are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights. These demands concern above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the State’s powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).
The commitment of each country to increase its own level of nutrition, to improve agricultural activity and the living conditions of the rural population, is embodied in the encouragement of the agricultural sector, in increased production or in the promotion of an effective distribution of food supplies. Yet this is not enough. In effect, what those goals demand is a constant acknowledgment that the right of every person to be free of poverty and hunger depends on the duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).
“Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me … as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:34-36,40).
- Signed Into Law in February of 2014 but authorization expires September 2018
- Bill has 12 titles encompassing:
- farm commodity revenue supports | farm credit | trade | agricultural conservation | research | rural development | energy | foreign and domestic food programs | others
- Farm Bill One-Pager (CCUSA)
- Farm Bill 2018 General Talking Points (CRS)
- CCUSA & CRS Farm Bill Script for Phone Calls to Senate (here)
PART 1: DOMESTIC ASPECTS OF FARM BILL
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations: Provides USDA foods to low-income families on reservations
- The emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Emergency food and nutrition assistance – food banks
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): Supplements low-income elderly persons in 39 states
- Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program: Coupons for low-income seniors to buy foods at farmers markets
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Funding for elementary schools buy fresh fruits and vegetables
- Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive: Grants to incentivize SNAP to buy fruits and vegetables
- Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI): Provides grants and tax credits grocers to open in under-served communities
- Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program: Increase capacity for nutrition education and farm to school grants
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Farm Bill Domestic Nutrition Priorities
- Oppose efforts to weaken efficiency or access to SNAP
- Improve outreach efforts by streamlining enrollment and protecting SNAP-Ed
- Ensure work requirements and education and training efforts are designed to promote access to decent work rather then removing people from SNAP
- Promote access to case management for SNAP recipients unable to find employment
- Fund TEFAP at $250 million per year and maintain storage and distribution funds at $100 million
- Reauthorize the CSFP program
Rural Development Priorities
- Prioritize ag subsidies and direct payment to small and moderate-sized farmers
- Preserve good stewardship programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation partnership Program, Conservation Reserve Program and Agriculture Conservation Easement Program
- Promote the Young farmers and their families and rural communities by supporting Beginning Farmer and Ranger Development Program, Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Rural Microentrepreneaur Assistance Program
PART 2: INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF FARM BILL
- Food for Peace Title II
- Emergency Title II: CRS programs in Ethiopia, South Sudan
- Development Title II: CRS programs in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Uganda; 1.4 million people reached through CRS Food for Peace Development Programs
- Farmer-to-Farmer: CRS programs in East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)
- Famine Early Warning System
- McGovern- Dole Food for Education
- CRS Programs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Mali, Sierra Leone
- 391,000 children reached in CRS programs
- Programming includes school lunches, take home rations, teacher training, mentoring, curriculum development, deworming, WASH, education policy support
Farm Bill Objectives
- Continue and fund existing programs
- Maintain overall funding limit for Food for Peace Title II ($2.5B)
- Maintain funding for Title II Development Programs ($350M)
- Maintain funding for Farmer-to-Farmer ($15M)
- Continue McGovern-Dole Food for Education
- Continue Food for Progress
- Expand Reach and/or Efficiency of Programs
- Remove the requirement to monetize in Title II programs
- Make permanent the Community Development Fund
- Make permanent local purchase in McGovern-Dole
- Provide more funding for shipping in Food for Progress
- Address cargo preference
TAKING ACTION- Here are some tools so you can take action:
- Phone Calls: Please direct calls to your Representative’s DC office.
You can use this toll-free number (844-906-0792), to route you to their DC office. ***Please be sure to call during business hours to make the most impact. It’s also a best practice to send an email as a follow-up to your phone call and to include the Farm Bill Principles Letter to Congress. You can utilize this phone script to guide your call.
- Complete and submit the Joint CCUSA & CRS Action Alert!
Remember: Personalizing the action alert is critical to maximizing its impact. You can edit the subject line, as well as the body of the message by typing directly into the message space. Be sure to include who you are and why you care about these issues. You can share this link within your communications and networks!
- Social Media Sample Posts: Edit, copy and paste, tagging your Representative in your messages.
I support the 1 in 9 people worldwide who do not have enough to eat. @__________, protect access & funding for #SNAP & international food security programs like @USAIDFFP & #McGovernDole in the 2018 #FarmBill: http://bit.ly/2BtEFJL. @CatholicRelief @CCharitiesUSA #NourishChange@__________, protect access & funding for #SNAP & international food security programs like @USAIDFFP & #McGovernDole in the 2018 #FarmBill: http://bit.ly/2BtEFJL. I care about the 1 in 9 people worldwide who do not have enough to eat @CatholicRelief @CCharitiesUSA #NourishChange
@__________, as a Catholic, I care about those who are #hungry & urge you to protect access & funding for #SNAP & international food security programs like @USAIDFFP & #McGovernDole in the #FarmBill: http://bit.ly/2BtEFJL. @CatholicRelief @CCharitiesUSA #NourishChange