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The U.S. Congress is working to draft a new, five-year Farm Bill. “You may already know Farm Bill reauthorization is underway,” says John Johnson, ELCA Program Director for Domestic Policy. This impacts all of us who eat, including those of us who struggle with hunger. Beyond our bellies, we’ll feel the impact of farm bill policy decisions through our vocations. “Many of you work on farms, in businesses, and help to feed hungry people not only in the United States but around the world,” he observes.


What Is the Farm Bill and Why Now?

The farm bill is legislation that is critical to addressing hunger in the United States and globally. It covers federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), environment, trade, foreign aid and rural development. The bill impacts the lives of Lutherans and their communities – among us are farmers and ranchers and Indigenous communities and global partners and low income Americans.

Congress is preparing to reauthorize the bill in 2023. Each reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve or expand programs that ensure access to fresh and healthy food while addressing root causes of hunger.

UPDATE: JANUARY 2024The 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization is delayed. Since the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted on December 20, 2018, an extension has allowed authorized programs to continue through Sept. 30, 2024. USDA Farm Service Agency assures that “[the] Farm Bill continues its strong support for America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards through a variety of safety net, farm loan, conservation, and disaster assistance program.” However, our faith-based advocacy in the process remains active toward passing a 5-year Farm Bill.


What Is a Listening Session?

ELCA farm bill listening sessions are virtual gatherings where ministry leaders, members of congregations, and those with valuable lived experiences gather our opinions and experiences informed by faith values on stewardship, justice and serving our neighbor. This input will equip one another and the many communities of this church for farm bill advocacy that reflects those values, including our ELCA Witness in Society advocacy staff. These viewpoints, opportunities, concerns and hopes for a future farm bill will inform ELCA advocacy and help shape the ultimate law that Congress passes.


Listening Session Update

UPDATE: Listening sessions held in 2023 have concluded. We heard from hundreds of Lutherans across the country who asked that their voices reach policy makers in the farm bill reauthorization process. Members brought their vocational, ministerial and civic experiences from varied parts of this country to ELCA listening sessions. They emphasized their deep concern for neighbors at home and abroad — especially the most vulnerable — and for faithful stewardship of God’s good creation.

Find resulting Farm Bill asks in: “2023 Farm Bill” leave-behind resource.

At this time, four 1.5 hour listening sessions are scheduled in April and May 2023. Register for any, but each session will feature some discussion specific to the region of a particular time zone or demographic of constituents.

  • Young Adult-focused sessions
    Session #1 –
    Tuesday, May 23 – 1 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. CT

    Register – #2
    Thursday, May 25 – 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT
    Register –
  • Eastern & Central Time Zone focus
    Tuesday, April 18 – 6 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. CT
    Register –
  • Pacific Time Zone focus
    Friday, April 21 – 12 noon PT [3 p.m. ET)
    Register –
  • Mountain Time Zone focus
    Tuesday, April 25 – 6 p.m. MT (8 p.m. ET)
    Register –
  • Enfoque nacional bilingüe (español/inglés)
    UPDATE: 5/18/23 – session cancelled | sesión cancelado
    Miércoles 24 de mayo – 18.00 horas MT (20.00 horas ET)
    Inscríbase –

    • El equipo de incidencia política federal de la ELCA desea solicitar la colaboración de diversos sectores de la ELCA que deseen participar en una sesión de sensibilización sobre la Ley Agrícola. Esta legislación es clave para abordar la problemática de la conservación y el hambre tanto en Estados Unidos como en el resto del mundo. Estas sesiones son reuniones virtuales en las que los líderes de los ministerios, los miembros de las congregaciones y aquellos con valiosas experiencias vividas proporcionarán información al equipo de Witness in Society en Washington, DC. Sus puntos de vista, iniciativas, inquietudes y esperanzas respecto a la futura ley agrícola servirán para informar nuestra incidencia y ayudarán a dar forma a la ley final que se apruebe en el Congreso. ¡Dialoguemos y actuemos junta/os!


Current legislation is set to expire in September 2023, and our faithful action can impact reauthorization decisions. On Capitol Hill, our faith-centered perspectives will inform ELCA advocacy as we advance priorities toward a just world where all are fed. “We need your expertise, and we need your comments, hopes and dreams for how this Farm Bill can make a better world,” invites Johnson. Please be part of a Listening Session to Inform ELCA Farm Bill Advocacy.

Want to learn more?