WASHINGTON - JULY 20 - "This is not real reform. This is a ruse," said Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World.
"Under the House Agriculture Committee's proposal, commodity payments to the largest farms continue to be a staple of our nation's food and farm policy. The committee has not created a more equitable farm support system. If anything, it has reinforced the status quo."
"The modest improvements to rural development and support for minority farmers are a step forward, but they don't go far enough. This year we have a chance for historic reform, and Congress cannot settle for less. They can and must do better.
"This country needs a farm bill that does more to help the people who need it the most—farmers and rural people of modest means and, most of all, the millions of American families that struggle to put food on the table.
"Should we lower the cap on payments? Yes. Should we close loopholes in the existing policy? Absolutely. But limiting payments to the wealthiest producers is a no-brainer, not a negotiation.
"Broad reform of Title I is necessary for a fair and just farm bill. Much of that money could be shifted to programs that really help farm and rural people of modest means, and that same shift would open opportunities for struggling rural people in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
"Despite calls for reform from religious groups and others from across the political spectrum, the House Agriculture Committee could not wiggle free of its deep ties to special interests and develop a farm bill that is better than the status quo.
"Americans are increasingly aware of what's at stake in this farm bill.
"This year, the fate of our nation's food, farm and rural development policies will not be determined by the same special interest groups or by 46 legislators on the House Agriculture Committee. We are confident that Congress will make sensible and just changes to the farm bill when it comes to the House floor."