Rural Coalition and Color of Change Team Up to Demand Equity and Fairness in the 2012 Farm Bill!

On September 13, 2012 about thirty individuals gathered at the Southeast Capitol Triangle to demand equity and fairness in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Color of Change, Rural Coalition and the National Family Farm Coalition, were just a few agricultural groups represented. Although the House would most likely not pass the Farm Bill before the end of the fiscal year, it is adamant that Section 2501 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are protected during the extension. The proposed cuts of $4 billion to the SNAP program in the 2012 Farm Bill by the Senate will be detrimental to over 40 million children and seniors. Another point that was addressed was the restoration of $150 Million to Section 2501, Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers. This program is essential in connecting socially disadvantaged and minority farmers to the programs necessary to enhance productivity and establish financial stability.

The event started off with opening remarks from the Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson, discussing the importance of protecting SNAP benefits and the 2501 program. His remarks were followed by comments from congresswoman Rosa Delauro, congressman Jim McGovern of the House Ag Committee, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Kathy Ozer of the National Family Farm Coalition and closing with Lorette Picciano of the Rural Coalition. The main highlights of this event included:

· The importance of protecting SNAP benefits program for children whom make up 21 million of the 46 million people that utilize SNAP.
· The children and elderly will be the main to group affected by the proposed cuts to the SNAP program.
· The SNAP benefits program only has a 3.8% error rate compared to other government programs with much higher rates.
· Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is simply not fair.
· The 2501 program just began receiving a decent amount of funding in 2008 and the cuts to this program will be extremely detrimental for those that utilize it.
· The House needs to get on board with passing a farm bill NOW.

Over 30,000 signatures from concerned citizens were delivered by the Rural Coalition and Color of Change to a number of Representatives in the House to express the importance of protecting the SNAP and 2501 programs.

It is important that we keep these programs protected within the Farm Bill and it is necessary that congress realizes that the budget need not be balanced on the backs of the poor.

The full video is available on Youtube: