Farm Bill Facts For Louisiana

Wed, 08/01/2007

Hunger & Poverty: Approximately 12.8% of households in Louisiana are hungry or at risk of hunger - compared to 11.4% nationwide. Roughly 18.1% of people in Louisiana live in poverty – compared to 12.5% nationwide, including 20.6% of its rural population – compared to 13.9% nationwide. Farm Bill Nutrition Program: The average monthly Food Stamp benefit per participant in Louisiana is $1.12 per meal. In Louisiana, 807,896 people received food stamp benefits each month. 75% of eligible people in Louisiana participate in the FSP – compared to 60% nationwide. In 2005, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program served 83,711 people in Louisiana. Agriculture in Louisiana’s Economy: 1% of Louisiana’s population is employed in farming; 6% is employed in manufacturing and 65% is employed in service. In Louisiana, 67% of farms receive less than $10,000 in sales, 21% receive between $10,000 and $99,999 in sales, 9% receive between $100,000 and $499,999, and 3% farms receive $500,000 or more in sales. (2002 USDA Census) Federal Commodity Payments: In 2002, 28% of the 27,413 farms in Louisiana received commodity payments. In 2003 – 04, farmers in Louisiana received 2% of the total U.S. commodity payments. In the years 2003 – 04, 4,966 farmers in Louisiana received a total of $39,772,642 in Disaster Payments. In the years 2003 – 04, 6,711 farmers in Louisiana received a total of $31,861,503 in Conservation Payments. In addition to the domestic food programs, the Farm Bill also includes important provisions that address how the U.S. provides food to assist people in need worldwide. Food assistance used not only during emergencies, such as war and drought, but also as a tool used for long-term development to promote education, health and/or agriculture. The House passed a version of the Farm Bill that includes: ● A recommendation that up to $2.5 billion be provided each year for Title II, i.e. P.L. 480 Food for Peace Program. ● Establishes a ‘safe box’ of $450 million exclusively in each year for development programs that address chronic hunger. ● Authorizes $840 million in total mandatory funding for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education & Child Nutrition Program over 5 years. This program encourages education and delivery of food to improve nutrition for preschoolers, school children, mothers, and infants in impoverished regions. This program advances nutrition programs in schools and particularly benefits girls. ● Increase flexibility to use cash for essential project support, such as purchasing baby scales for child nutrition programs. The House-passed version did not reform the emergency Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (1998 Act to meet emergency humanitarian food needs in developing countries), nor did it include any resources for local or regional purchase of food aid. The U.S. Senate is expected to markup its version after the August recess. There is a lot at stake in the Farm Bill. We must continue to contact decision-makers about hunger and the Farm Bill. Prayer can move mountains. Let us pray each day to move the Congress and the President to pass a Farm Bill that is just for all of God’s people. I invite you to join in prayer with other Bread for the World members in daily praying the following prayer. Gracious God, you are the source of all of our gifts: the sun and rains that nourish the earth, the food and drink that nourish our body, and the passion and interests that nourish our minds. We have what we need to feed the hungry. By your hand, O God, lead us from this place as we, like the woman who cried for justice, lift our own voices on behalf of those who hunger until the day when justice comes. Hold this precious world in your hand, silencing the hunger pangs in every nation. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.