American Sugar Alliance: Farm Bill Support

Published online: Nov 29, 2007 ASA News
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Washington D.C.--As Senators from sugar areas spend time at home with their constituents over the Thanksgiving break, they'll hear from a lot of growers supporting passage of the 2007 Farm Bill. But sugar growers aren't the only ones supporting the legislation. The bill has attracted a broad and diverse coalition of support from coast to coast. Environmentalists, conservationists, specialty crop growers, food banks, faith-based anti-hunger groups, and micro-finance advocates are just some of the many voices supporting the 2007 Farm Bill. It's easy to see why. As Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) noted in a November 14 floor statement about the Senate Agriculture Committee-passed bill: "It passed unanimously for good reason. It does a tremendous amount not only for our farm families but for anti-hunger advocates, for environmentalists, those working to spur economic development in rural areas, and it takes tremendous strides to rid our Nation of its dependence on foreign oil." Nutrition programs are among the most important things in the Farm Bill. According to Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), "The fact is, the vast majority of the spending in this bill is going to go to nutrition programs; 66 percent of the money in this bill is going to go for nutrition programs.Nutrition programs go to every corner of this country." But the benefits extend beyond America's borders. One global voice, FINCA International-a leading international microfinance organization providing financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs-is asking for support "for an important funding source for microfinance and development practitioners worldwide." FINCA knows how important a strong Farm Bill can be to the world's poor. The organization targets "the poorest of the working poor" and its nearly 600,000 clients worldwide include those "individuals unable to find work in the formal sector; families displaced by war and internal conflict; the rural poor; and those affected by chronic poverty." Readers can learn more about FINCA's support of the farm bill here. Among the other non-farm provisions in the Farm Bill: $5.3 billion for nutrition programs like food stamps, $4.5 billion for environmental programs and conservation, and $2.5 billion to help America produce environmentally-friendly renewable energy. No wonder there's such a diverse group of organizations calling upon the Senate to quickly pass the Farm Bill when they return in December.