Bush Promises to Veto Subsidies for Healthy Food

May 9, 2008 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

Organics Demand Share of Farm BillThe United States Farm Bill historically gives huge subsidies to “commodity” agricultural products. These are things like corn, soy and wheat. “Specialty crops” are everything else, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, basically fruits and vegetables that you picture growing on a farm. The truth is, we don’t eat much of the “specialty” variety and one of the main reasons is that farmers are not financially rewarded for producing them. They are, however greatly subsidized by the federal government for growing those commodity crops greatly out of balance with what a human should be consuming. According to the Washington Post:

[This year’s] bill assures growers of basic crops such as wheat, cotton, corn and soybeans $5 billion a year in automatic payments, even if farm and food prices stay at record levels.

The Farm Bill outlines these subsidies every five years and it’s about to go to the desk of President George W for signature to decide our food and nutrition programs for the next five. He has vowed to veto it. It’s important to point out that this farm bill is still grossly unfair to nutrition programs and farmers who are actual stewards of the land. But though it unjustly favors industrial, chemical farming, the subsidies outlined for organics and other sustainable practices are revolutionary in the history of this bill. It’s been a long battle to get these programs added and congress has finally come to agreement. According to California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF),

If the veto holds, several options are possible, including an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill for 2 more years (until a new President is in office) or for 5 years.

This means two more years of no subsidies to organic farmers, less funding for nutritional programs, and continued payouts to giant industrial ag companies.

Check out this great video from Free Range Studios where an Apple and a Twinkie battle over the Farm Bill:


Entry filed under: Food Politics, Organic. Tags: , , , .

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