Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 Farm Bill good from a Food Pantry perspective

If you read this blog, you are getting my perspective on the Farm Bill that is heavily swayed toward wanting those subsidies to be reined in for the benefit of global poverty and domestic. As I've pointed out already, the amendments related to reform did not get passed. Which is disappointing except for the magnificent fact that so many more people are aware and talking about it! Yet there was another side to what many of us were pushing for, which was increased support for domestic hunger programs. This type of support is the money that helps out local food pantries. From that end, it seems to have been a success...at least for now. There was increased support with the concern being that funding for it is not completely secure for the future. Nevertheless, here are optimistic statements from two main organizations that help out our local food pantries around here....
From the Greater Chicago Food Depository's website:
On Friday, Dec. 14, the Farm Bill passed out of the U.S. Senate. As you know, this is an important step toward securing additional resources for both the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Food Stamp Program which provides food for hungry families throughout the country. Your advocacy helped to make this victory possible so give yourself a round of applause!

There are still obstacles ahead as the bill must go through conference committee and be signed into law by the President. Keep an eye out for future action alerts on this issue. Now that the bill has passed out of the Senate, please take a moment to call your U.S. Senators to thank them for their support of a strong nutrition title in the Farm Bill.
From America's Second Harvest:
On Friday, December 14th, the Senate passed the 2007 Farm Bill by a vote of 79-14. The bill now will go before a House-Senate conference committee that will work to iron out the differences between the House and Senate-passed proposals.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) have both voiced their strong support for wrapping up negotiation quickly on a final Farm Bill. Chairman Peterson has indicated that he plans to spend part of the winter congressional recess in Washington working with his staff on the Farm Bill. Chairman Harkin will chair the conference committee on the Farm Bill, but conferees apparently will not be named until January.

The Senate approval of the Farm Bill was a critical step in the process towards enactment of a final Farm Bill conference report. However, it is essential that the process continue to move forward to help ensure that the Congress passes a final Farm Bill that strengthens and enhances critical nutrition programs, like the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Food Stamp Program, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), that help hungry Americans. The number of individuals and families seeking assistance from food banks across the country remains strong; however, federal commodities to food banks have declined drastically over the past several years due to high food prices. Quick passage of a final Farm Bill is essential for charitable feeding providers and the low-income Americans they serve every day.

Please send a letter to your Senators today and urge them to support the swift passage of a final Farm Bill conference report with a strong nutrition title as quickly as possible. Thank you for your help!

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