6/17/2013 12:30:00 PM Archdiocese seeks fairness in farm bill
An Oregon farmhouse. The archdiocese is seeking a farm bill that aids the poor and small farms.
The Archdiocese of Portland Office of Office of Life, Justice and Peace is asking Catholics to urge the state's federal lawmakers to support a farm bill that feeds hungry people, promotes stewardship of creation, fosters small family farmers, and helps rural communities thrive.
"From God’s initial command to care for creation to the prophets’ call for justice among nations and governments, people of faith in every age are called together to work for the common good," said an email from the office sent to many Catholics in Oregon. "Inspired by our faith traditions’ commands to care for poor and vulnerable people, we must support policies that feed and assist millions of people living in poverty in the U.S. and around the world, strengthen rural communities, and care for the land as God’s creation."
A bill in the U.S. House received a major endorsement last week when Speaker John Boehner announced that he would support the proposal, which cuts about $20 billion from the food stamps. Many conservatives sought deeper reductions. But even as it stands, the reductions will not be affirmed by the Senate, which already passed a version that cuts only $4.1 billion.
Proposals in the farm bills also would reduce billions in funding for conservation programs, which help ranchers and farmers protect soil, water, open space and wildlife habitat.
The statement from the archdiocesan office applauded plans to end some subsidies and reform crop insurance. That would save money for small and medium-sized farms, said the email, written by Matt Cato, the office director.
"Whether you support rural communities, small farmers, the hungry, the environment, or our brothers and sisters overseas, there’s a reason for you to support a fair farm bill," Cato wrote.