Food can remain safe and affordable without sacrificing the incomes, health, or lives of farmers and farm workers. Catholic social teaching insists that all workers deserve wages and benefits sufficient to support a family and live a decent life. Farmers must be able to support themselves and their families through their work and to provide for important needs such as health care and retirement. Farmers and their employees receive less and less of every dollar spent on food. This is a matter of justice that should be addressed. Agricultural policies must take into consideration the risks associated with farming that are beyond a farmer’s control, such as weather and changes in global markets. Trade policies should better reflect the right to economic opportunity of all farmers wherever they may live. Agricultural policies should help ensure basic income security and provide opportunities for economic initiative for farmers in the United States and throughout the world, with special attention to small producers. (USCCB, Pastoral Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers)
Contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to give priority to:
- Owners of small or medium farms struggling to feed their families.
- Rural communities struggling to maintain their values and quality of life.
- Farmers and ranchers practicing responsible stewardship of their land and common waterways.
- Women and children who need adequate nutrition.
- Fully funding the Conservation Security Program, the, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and the Value-Added Producer Grants Program.
- Contact fast food and restaurant chains to express your concern over workers’ conditions.
Repeated Social Teaching
The economy must serve people, not vice versa. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.