Fiscal Conservatives, Environmentalists, Faith Groups, and Social Justice Activists Call on Secretary Schafer to Fight for Real Reform in Farm Bill

By Oxfam

WASHINGTON, DC — A diverse group of public interest organizations and faith groups joined forces today to welcome newly appointed Secretary Schafer into his new position and urge him to work towards real and meaningful reform in US farm programs.

In a joint letter, the groups called on Secretary Schafer to foster a more just and equitable approach to US farm policy and volunteered to help him achieve this.

“It is difficult to defend a farm bill that perpetuates large payments to wealthy farmers, that encourages the production of crops in surplus, and that continues payments to individuals who no longer farm or never did,” the letter states. “Given current high commodity prices, it is especially difficult to support a system that promotes such inequities for farmers here and abroad.”

Congress is now pulling together conferees for the 2008 farm bill, which faces a veto threat by President Bush. The current farm bill is set to expire on March 15, 2008.

“It is critical to enact meaningful reform before the final farm bill is presented to President Bush,” said the groups in the letter. “We look forward to working with you to achieve this kind of real and meaningful reform in US farm programs.”

Signatories to Secretary Schafer’s letter include Bread for the World, Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Environmental Working Group, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Initiative for Global Development, Kansas Rural Center, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, National Peace Corps Association, National Taxpayers Union, NETWORK, Oxfam America, Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office, Progressive National Baptist Convention, RESULTS, Sojourners, Taxpayers for Common Sense, The Minnesota Project, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the William C. Velasquez Institute.

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