Congressional Black Caucus lauds Farm Bill passage

Washington, D.C. — “I am most proud of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 110th Congress. Since the commencement of this Congress, CBC Members have helped draft and pass legislation which supports our commitment to America. The passage of this bill represents a sizeable victory for American families, particularly female heads of households. This bill will help build healthier and stronger families, by improving nutrition and access to affordable dietary options. The bill boosts funding for renewable energy programs by 600 percent, encourages the production of renewable energy and, ultimately, energy independence,” said Congresswoman Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

H.R. 2419, the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007, offers significant improvements to the Food Stamp Program, 1890 land-grant institutions, and improves access to programs for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers. This bill also includes language to address outstanding claims from African American farmers through the case Pigford v. Veneman.

“This farm bill is a reasonable approach to securing the nation’s food and fiber supply,” said Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS). “Chairman Colin Peterson has worked in good faith with a diverse cross-section of Members to ensure that a respectable balance is restored to our agricultural programs, including those intended to increase conservation efforts.”

The CBC worked closely with Agricultural Committee Chairman Peterson to include key provisions:

  • Raising the minimum authorization level for 1890s extension;
  • Allowing deserving Pigford claimants an opportunity to have their cases heard to redress civil rights abuses against Black Farmers;
  • Mandatory funding of section 2501 Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Outreach Program;
  • Raising the minimum authorization level of Evens-Allen for 1890s research;
  • Raising the Standard Deduction and Minimum Benefit for Food Stamps for the first time in 20 and 30 years, respectively;
  • Food Stamps indexed with the TRUE cost of living;
  • Lifting the $175 dependent child care cap in Food Stamps, allowing families to deduct ALL of their childcare expenses.
  • In addition to allocating necessary resources to the existing nutrition program, the bill addresses funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). “The Farm Bill reauthorization legislation provides many strong and positive steps toward addressing unmet needs of minorities,” said Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC). “From providing additional resources to HBCU’s to ensuring access to assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers, to bolstering our nutritional programs for children to increasing opportunities for buying farmland, this bill addresses a great number of important needs.”

    Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), added, “Far too many of our constituents suffer from poor health because they lack access to fresh produce. The consequences range from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other lifestyle maladies. That is why, the CBC worked to reauthorize the $25-billion farm subsidy system.”

    The Congressional Black Caucus, 42 Members from 21 states, representing 40 million Americans will continue to confront the crises that impact our legacy. “This is a remarkable piece of work. Members of the CBC played a critical leadership role in putting together a comprehensive bill to support healthy families,” remarked Congressman David Scott (D-GA).