Congress: We need to protect food stamps and family farms

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The current version of the Farm Bill ignores the tremendous levels of hunger and unemployment in our communities. Congress is poised to both cut food stamps for nearly half a million recipients and cripple a program that assists Black family farmers — in favor of defending wasteful subsidies designed to line the pockets of Big Agribusiness.

Please join us in calling on Congress to put human health and livelihoods first by protecting critical nutritional assistance programs and securing the continued existence of Black family farms.

Here’s the letter we’ll send to the House Committee on Agriculture and other Members of Congress on your behalf (you can add a personal comment using the box on the right):

Dear Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Collin Peterson and other Members of Congress,

I'm writing to urge you to protect critical nutritional assistance and secure the continued existence of Black family farms in the 2012 Farm Bill. This means restoring full funding of $150 million to the Section 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program, and $4.49 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In light of the ongoing economic crisis — including stubbornly high rates of joblessness and food insecurity — it's imperative that healthy food, hungry people and struggling family farmers come first. Slashing funding for essential programs that help regular folks make sure they get enough food on the table — particularly when it's in favor of defending wasteful subsidies designed to line the pockets of Big Agribusiness — is not the way to rebuild our economy.

SNAP provides food security for millions of families, in addition to providing a market for small farmers and boosting local economies in some of the most depressed regions of our country. And the 2501 Program is the only program created by Congress to address the disparate land loss by "socially disadvantaged" producers — meaning Black, Latino, Native American, and other minority farmers and ranchers historically discriminated against by the USDA.

So many Black folks — both on the farm and off — are struggling in these tough economic times, and SNAP and the 2501 Program provide necessary resources to improve equity and inclusion for Black folks as well as providing healthy food and vegetables for our families. Without sufficient resources provided in the Farm Bill you are now writing, millions of families will have an even harder time making ends meet than they do today.

I urge you to fully fund those portions of the Farm Bill that our community relies on the most.

[your name]

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