TAKE ACTION: Support a Just Farm Bill in 2023!

“The rich and the poor have equal dignity and their rights must be guaranteed.”

(Pope Francis, Laudato Si’- On Care for our Common Home)

Family farmers, ranchers, consumers, and communities all benefit from a strong and resilient farm and food system. The Farm Bill, which is rewritten and voted on by Congress every five years, includes nearly $1 trillion in spending. It is a comprehensive piece of legislation that covers a wide variety of issues including conservation, international agricultural programs, trade, nutrition, and more. Nutrition programs alone comprise 76% of the Farm Bill’s total spending.

In his landmark encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis makes clear that our care for one another and our care for the Earth are intimately connected, noting that humanity is not faced “with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental.” As Midwestern Franciscan Justice Promoters, inspired by this call, we are urging Congress to reauthorize a just Farm Bill in 2023 that supports the dignity of all people, especially those in poverty, and offers safeguards for preserving Creation.

We hope you will join us in advocating for the following priorities:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) must be strengthened to support our brothers and sisters experiencing poverty by including:

  • The Closing the Meal Gap Act which makes SNAP allotments affordable,
  • The Improving Access to Nutrition Act which eliminates 3-month time limits on working adult eligibility,
  • The Hot Foods Act which expands food choices SNAP recipients may purchase, and
  • The Lift the Bar Act which removes a 5-year waiting period for lawful immigrants for SNAP and other aid.

International programs that address hunger at its root causes must be maintained, including these programs:

  • The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program which provides free, nutritious school lunches for millions of children,
  • Food for Peace which provides emergency food support to over 4 billion people worldwide, and
  • The Farmer-to-Farmer program which enables U.S. volunteers to help train and support farmers in other countries so they can adapt to climate change and improve their harvests.

Support for family farmers and ranchers over factory farms must include:

  • The Farm System Reform Act which places a moratorium on large, concentrated animal feeding operations and requires country-of-origin labeling for meat and dairy products and
  • The Justice for Black Farmers Act which requires reforms within the Department of Agriculture to prevent future discrimination against Black farmers and ranchers.

Climate change resources such as conservation programs and expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities must also be included:

  • The Environmental Quality Incentives Program which supports producers interested in conserving and improving natural resources on their farms and ranches,
  • The Conservation Stewardship Program which provides technical and financial assistance to actively manage and maintain existing conservation systems and to implement additional conservation activities on land in agricultural production,
  • The Rural Energy for America Program which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements, and
  • The Conservation Reserve Program which oversees land eligibility determinations, conservation planning, and implementation on the ground.

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The Midwest Franciscan Justice Promoters is made up of representatives from the following communities:

Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis, Wisconsin

Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa

Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa

Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester, Minnesota