Urge your representative to insist on changes to the Farm Bill

The House of Representatives may bring the Farm Bill for a vote as early as next week! The current bill has serious flaws that would negatively impact poor, hungry and vulnerable people. See USCCB’s recent letter on the House Farm Bill here. We are calling on the House to make the following changes:

  • Maintain state options for broad-based categorical eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  Its elimination could cause as many as 2 million individuals to lose access to SNAP.  Moreover, while we support investments in education and training, these investments are handicapped by severe penalties for applicants who do not meet work requirements.
  • No elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).  The Conservation Stewardship Program promotes sensible care of the land and natural resources and helps us to care for our common home by providing ongoing performance-based stewardship payments to support conservation measures on working farms.
  • Maintain support and funding for programs that benefit small farmers, including farmers markets and organic farms. The largest 10% of farms claim 60% of the subsidies from the crop programs and the share of subsidies claimed by the biggest farms has tripled since 1991.  Rather than addressing these inequalities, the House Farm Bill creates a new loophole that would qualify cousins, nieces, and nephews of farmers for subsidies even if they don’t live or work on the farm.
  • Support an amendment that would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use a less restrictive interpretation of the cargo preference law. USDA is forced to make much higher payments due to different interpretations of the cargo preference law.  These overcharges come at the expense of helping more people.
  • Oppose reductions for rural development.  The current bill cuts USDA rural development funding by more than $500 million, which would limit the expansion of broadband access to areas in need.

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Via USCCB – May 2018