4 Mar 2008

The Farm Bill Must Die

It's well-known that so-called "program crops" (wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and cotton) get tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, that most of these payments go to "industrial ag" farms, and that most of these farms are in the midwest.

California farmers sometimes complain and sometimes boast that they receive very few subsidies at all. They grow fruits and nuts and other garden crops that we find in the produce section of stores. California farmers are not supported by the government, but they are pleased to feed people because they just love people and what's better than having some California strawberries in Wisconsin in January?

Well, it turns out that these California farmers are not as selfless as they appear. In this op/ed, a Minnesota farmer complains that he cannot increase production of garden crops by growing them on former-program crop land because these acres will lose their corn subsidy forever if non-program crops are grown on the land for a year.
Why? Because national fruit and vegetable growers based in California, Florida and Texas fear competition from regional producers like myself. Through their control of Congressional delegations from those states, they have been able to virtually monopolize the country’s fresh produce markets.
He cannot expand, the market for "local food" stays small, and farmers from California, Texas and Florida maintain their dominance.

In other words, it seems that non-program crop states have been willing to support continued subsidies for program crop states because they are facing less competition in return. Less competition, higher prices and more money. Voila!

So forget about local foods, fresher foods, seasonal foods, and community cohesion -- we've got truckers to employ, gasoline to use and big farms in California to support by preventing the market from working for the benefit of people.

Bottom Line: Government is rarely interested in protecting consumers or small, competitive producers. They like their friends to be big -- so they can give big bribes donations in support of democratic justice.

Thanks to SA for the tip -- and the AWESOME graphic!!


Anonymous said...

United Fresh Fruit and Veg. and Western Growers and other lobbyists for the commercial F&V industry demanded substantial "compensation" for relaxing the planting restrictions. Of course, dropping the subsidy would make more sense than just dropping the planting restriction.

Anonymous said...

Dude... woah. Neat angle.
~Debbie S

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