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 disciples of a loving God, we are called upon to care for poor and vulnerable people and urge Congress to reform the Farm Bill so that it reduces hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. We call for strengthening rural communities, supporting farmworkers, farmers and all who work in the food system, and caring for the land as God’s creation.
Our nation’s food and farm policies as embodied in the Farm Bill impact people and communities from rural America to developing countries. In the current budget climate, the Farm Bill’s resources must be effectively targeted where the needs are greatest. Therefore, we stand behind the following Farm Bill principles:
- Protect and strengthen programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States.
- Promote investments and policies that strengthen rural communities and combat rural poverty.
- Ensure that farmers in the U.S. and around the world receive fair prices so they can sustain their farms and their livelihoods.
- Ensure that crop insurance and other programs include payment limitations and rules giving equitable access to small- and medium-scale farmers.
- Strengthen policies and programs that promote conservation, reduce carbon emissions, and protect creation from environmental degradation.
- Protect the dignity, health, safety, and fair compensation of those responsible for working the land.
- Promote research and incentives related to clean and renewable forms of energy that do not negatively impact food prices or the environment.
- Safeguard and improve international food aid in ways that encourage local food security and improve the nutritional quality of food aid.
- Advocate for policies that honor treaties and land claims by Indigenous Peoples, support farmers and food chain workers of color, and promote food sovereignty in the Global South.
The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years, and this one comes at a time of increased income and wealth inequality, ongoing racism, environmental degradation, and climate change. Given this historic moment and based on the Social Witness Policies of the PC(USA), we call on Presbyterians to advocate especially in these five areas:
A) Food security, rural support and sustainable regional food economies
B) Access to resources and land for people of color, immigrants and farmworkers, and beginner farmers
C) Land, environment, and climate stewardship
D) Food chain and farm workers, and at-risk farmers & producers
E) International food aid that strengthens food sovereignty
Read the Five Critical Areas for Farm Bill Reform and sign up for the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness Email Alerts so you can join with other Presbyterians and people of conscience in advocating for these important policies.