U.S. Argricultural Policy and the Farm Bill - Resources


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This is brief resource list which grows from the March 2006 seminar hosted by Mennonite Central Committee, Washington Office: "Voices Around the Table: Faith, Food and U.S. Farm Policy."

Farm Bill Resources -- Mennonite Central Committee

Resources on Food and Farm issues from a faith perspective
  • Food and Farming Guide [PDF] (MCC Washington Office)
  • [The following MCC resources are no longer available.]

  • MCC North America Consultation (Kansas, 2004): Food, Farming and Economic Globalization
  • Also, see www.mcc.org/us/washington/safespace/foodandfarming/,
  • Dialogue with Chris Gingerich and Hector Mondragon on Food and Farming.

    Farm Bill

    The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) have many documents which relate to the Farm Bill, including:
    • Previewing a 2007 Farm Bill [PDF] -- provides a detailed overview of "what is a Farm Bill?" and issues that are being debated as the 2002 Farm Bill come up for renewal in 2007.
    • The "Farm Bill" in Brief [PDF] -- four-page overview of the 2002 Farm Bill (last updated in 2006).
    • USDA Hearings during the summer of 2005 for the 2007 Farm Bill include testimony from many different individuals and organizations.
    • The NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts) maintains a listing of transcripts from USDA hearings.
    • The 2002 Farm Bill briefing book - contains many details and hearings on the last Farm Bill.

    Pennsylvania Farm Information

  • American Farmland Trust has extensive farmland information state by state:


    Agribusiness Giants Dominate Grain Trade*

    The same three grain giants -- Cargill-Continental Grain, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Zen Noh (a Japanese company) -- control 81% of the corn exports and 65% of the soybean exports. ADM and Cargill are also among the top four in terminal grain handling, flour milling, soybean crushing and ethanol production.

    Concentration of Agricultural Markets in the
    top four firms in specific food industries include:
    • Terminal Grain Handling Facilities: 60%
      (Cargill, Cenex Harvest States, ADM, and General Mills)
    • Corn Exports: 81%
      (Cargill-Continental Grain, ADM, and Zen Noh)
    • Soybean Exports: 65%
      (Cargill-Continental Grain, ADM, Zen Noh)
    • Flour Milling: 61%
      (ADM Milling, ConAgra, Cargill, General Mills)
    • Soybean Crushing: 80%
      (ADM, Cargill, Bunge, and AGP)
    *Study commissioned by National Farmers Union and conducted by Mary Hendrickson and William Heffernan from the University of Missouri (March 2002).

    Food & Nutrition: Pennsylvania Resources

    Farm Bill: Other Resources

    Other faith-based resources on Agricultural Policy

    • National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program [www.nccecojustice.org]
      At the Lord's Table: Everyday Thanksgiving
      "This new study, worship, and action resource gives churches the tools to talk about how faith can and should influence food choices. It also provides action steps to engage congregations in progressive food buying practices and in advocacy for a better farm bill in 2007."
      Note: You must register to download resources from this website.
    • Presbyterian Sunday School curriculum: Food and Faith: Just Eating?

    Faith-Based Principles for Farm Policy

    Voices Around the Table: Faith, Food and U.S. Farm Policy
    Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office
    Spring Seminar March 5-7, 2006

    U.S. farm policy should...

    1. Guarantee the right to food. Every human, created in the image of God, has a right to adequate, safe and nutritious food. Enough for everyone cannot be guaranteed by a food system that is driven only by the market and motivated only by profit. International institutions and national governments in cooperation with civil society must collaborate to promote sustainable agricultural development and community food security.
    2. Reward conservation of the environment. Agricultural industrialization has contributed to environmental degradation and created a food system dependent on monocultures, agrochemicals and fossil fuels. Offering incentives to farmers who increase biodiversity, protect soil or preserve water meets current needs without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.
    3. Promote sustainable small-scale farms. Unregulated agribusiness concentration, in which a few multinational corporations set crop prices as well as food costs, has perpetuated poverty and led to loss of livelihood for farmers worldwide. Promotion of family farms and support for small-scale processing and marketing facilities leads to thriving local economies.
    4. Compensate farmers fairly. Agriculture prices should be linked to production costs. Current low commodity prices benefit only agribusiness corporations and hide social and environmental costs. Farmers including those who are women, people of color or beginning farmers should have access to land and credit, and farmworkers should have access to worker protections and adequate pay.
    5. Allow developing countries to protect their farmers. While trade can contribute to economic development, the export-oriented decisions forced on developing countries by international institutions and trade agreements have not, by and large, met the needs of impoverished communities. In general, the principle of food sovereignty which discourages exports until all in a region are fed, and limits imports of products already grown locally should guide farm policy.
    6. Recognize the roots of true security. The current food and agriculture system, from seed to shelf, is highly dependent on fossil fuels. Disruptions in energy supplies or global transportation can rapidly lead to food shortages, as Hurricane Katrina demonstrated. Producing, processing and marketing food closer to where people live localizing our food system will reduce oil dependency and increase food security for all.

  • For more information about the Peace and Justice Committee, see efpjc.ppjr.org.

  • Location: http://efpjc.ppjr.org/farm07.htm
    Last Updated: 3/23/07
    Created: June 17, 2006