Posts Categorized: Farm Bill

Life Without a Farm Bill: An Update

women at farmers market taking voucher The last Farm Bill, which is reauthorized every five years, expired on September 30, 2018. With prospects for a short-term extension of the 2014 Farm Bill gone and Congress unlikely to return to Washington, D.C. before the November elections, the focus of advocates must now shift to trying to help pass a good, bipartisan 2018 Farm… Read more »

What’s going on with the Farm Bill?

farm bill graphic In case you missed the Zoom webinar, you can view the 34-minute video here: Presenters: Juli Obudzinski, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (sign up for NSAC updates); Lorette Picciano, Rural Coalition; Rodrigo Rodriguez, Southwest Organizing Project; Nora Leccese, PC(USA) Office of Public Witness Farm Bill Update: What’s Up The US government has until September 30, 2018… Read more »

Why care about the Farm Bill?

One bill provides crop insurance to protect farmers hit by pests, drought, or flood. One bill supports communities as they develop their local and regional food systems. One bill provides research, credit, and support programs for farmers and ranchers. One bill enacts either strong or weak creation care policies. Agriculture is one of the foremost… Read more »

Why It Matters: Farm Bill 101

Should we rename the Farm Bill? This hard-working bill covers everything—from crop insurance to community food projects, from Meals on Wheels and SNAP (food stamps) to energy, conservation, and international food aid. Calling it the Food Bill would at least pique the curiosity of those that eat! No matter what it is called, though, as… Read more »

Tributes to John Kinsman

THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF JOHN KINSMAN

Johns at chicago merchantile exchange

Rally at the 2011 Pull Together Solidarity Tractorcade, Wisconsin State Capitol. The event drew over 150,000 people -the  largest gathering ever in WI history. John Peck on left, John Kinsman on right with another farmer in the middle.

The physical life of John Kinsman has ended, but he lives fiercely in the hearts and minds of the myriad people he touched and his many close friends.

Wisconsin dairy farmer, a dear friend to many, a tireless warrior for food sovereignty, and a champion of family farmers in his home town and literally around the world. While continuing to run his dairy farm, John traveled around the US and the globe showing up wherever people needed to hear about the plight of family farmers, how they needed a fair price, and the need to turn upside down exploitative trade and farm policies. Even as he began to decline he would be out with the masses, marching with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and speaking in front of crowds.

This quote gives you a sense of John’s unique humor and colorful stories, “Organizing farmers is like pushing a wheelbarrow of frogs.”

John lived life with abundance, fought for justice, laughed with friends and enemies, inspired me and so many others, and will be sorely missed!

~andrew kang bartlett

 


“John Kinsman, a dairy farmer and loving husband and father from the hilly Driftless region of Wisconsin was an unlikely and unassuming giant in the global struggle for justice and food sovereignty. But a giant he was, touching the lives of countless people around the world in his 87 years of farming, protesting, strategizing and building relationships and solidarity.John died peacefully yesterday at 87, on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, surrounded by family on his farm.”

Read the “In Memory of John Kinsman,” by Siena Chrisman on the WhyHunger blog.

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What is the most critical law you can think of that affects hungry people, farmers, developing countries and the health of the land – and, well, everybody?

cartoon farmer on tractorWhenever Presbyterians approach our food and farm policies, we can hang our hats on our faith conviction “that God our Creator has made the world for everyone, and desires that all shall have daily bread” (UPCUSA, Minutes, 1979, p. 189). This underlying conviction of a right to food shapes our advocacy about agriculture and the food system.

With this value in mind, you can weigh in on the Farm Bill debates that are heating up in our nation’s capital ~ Write to your Senators about the Farm Bill today! This link takes you straight to the PCUSA which allows you to reach your Senators in less than a minute. Seriously. Time yourself.

“Why would I do that? you ask . . .

Well, our nation’s food and farm policies, as embodied in the U.S. Farm Bill, impact people and communities from rural America, to urban centers, to developing countries – hundreds of millions of people! In the current budget climate, the Farm Bill’s limited resources must be targeted effectively where the need is greatest. We must prioritize programs and policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness has joined with the interfaith community to call for a Farm Bill that promotes local food security in the U.S. and around the world, strengthen rural communities, and care for the land as God’s creation. 

The Senate is currently debating the reauthorization of the Farm Bill – the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 – and consideration promises to drag out for over a week, as hundreds of amendments will be offered.  Your Senators need to hear from you about a just and healthy Farm Bill.

The letter will do this automatically, but let’s lay out the important issues. What we want is a Farm Bill that:

  1. Restores cuts to the SNAP program, while reforming crop insurance subsidies.  Senator Gillibrand has introduced an amendment to this effect.
  2. Fully funds conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, and preserves the conservation compact, making sure that enrollment in any new insurance subsidies are tied directly to compliance with conservation programs.
  3. Includes full mandatory funding for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers through the 2501 title. Senator Udall has introduced an amendment to this end.
  4. Includes all elements of the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (S. 1773) introduced by Senator Brown.
  5. Includes the Packer Ban to limit consolidation in the meat industry, in accordance with the amendment introduced by Senator Grassley.
  6. Robustly funds the Rural Development title, which is essential for spurring rural economic activity and creating jobs.
  7. Shifts our food and farm policy away from price supports that advantage the large, industrial farms, and instead levels the playing field for small and medium-sized growers, as well as a new generation of farmers.          

Right?!

U.S. food and agricultural policy must focus on adopting best agricultural practices that put the health of its citizens, the land and the livelihood of farmers and farm workers over the interests of a small number of large, industrial agriculture operations.  Stand up to protect not only farmers, without whom we would all go hungry, but to enact a food and farm bill that fairly and judiciously serves the interests of all Americans. 

In a 1985 statement, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly wrote “we believe it is the responsibility and duty of the Federal government to enact a comprehensive, long-term food and fiber policy, with specific price, production and conservation goals designed to protect and enhance family-farm agriculture in the United States … We believe further that this nation must establish a strong system of sustainable agriculture and prevent the continuing concentration of land in the hands of a smaller and smaller number of owners” (Minutes, 1985, p. 399).

You’re still reading? Click here and register your beliefs with your civil servants sitting in Congress.

Now!

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Gearing up for the next Farm Bill

Here are some great ways to stay abreast of this critical legislative work — Farm Policy, a daily newsletter about food and farm policy. Sign up for the email service and you’ll receive everything you need to know about what’s going on in D.C. It’s a ton of information, but worth skimming each morning. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog. The Presbyterian Hunger Program has been supporting this excellent coalition for over a decade. The Farm Bill and Beyond, an outstanding and very comprehensive report about how the 2008 Farm Bill came to be. It’s a little long, but definitely worth reading if you want some insight on how the next fight will play out. The blogs and twitter feeds of healthy farm advocates like @FoodDeclaration, Environmental Working Group, Food Democracy Now and Grist. And the soon-to-be launched US Food Sovereignty Alliance will have great analysis and ways to engage. Contact Andrew to learn how you can get involved in the Alliance. Thanks to Slow Food USA +++++++++++++ So, what are everyday people and farmers saying what they want from our food and farm policy?

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5 decades before another action alert

Yes, well, if Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson have their way, you would only get farm bill reform alerts from the Hunger Program every half century! That’s because the changes in agricultural production they laid out on January 5 are based on ecological principles as opposed to the desires of agribusiness. They also are grounded in the great research on perennials done by Jackson’s Land Institute and on Berry’s sage advice on agrarianism (here is a choice morsel from Orion magazine – The Agrarian Standard). May our new leadership in Washington take heed!

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Not crying wolf… “FINAL CHANCE FOR FARM BILL REFORM!”

UPDATE: House proposes Farm Bill that would cut funding for nutrition programs and hurt conservation efforts Current negotiations in Farm Bill conference would reduce funding to nutrition and conservation programs The House and the Senate each passed a farm bill…

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