Policy Plate: Farm Country Editorials
Two newspapers in farm country editorialized on the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill today. First, an excerpt from The Wisconsin State Journal’s “Better farm bill not good enough:”
But more scrutiny is needed of expanded insurance subsidies. Many growers already get heavily subsidized crop insurance. Now they could be protected against modest declines in yield or prices.
The Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star editorial board is also concerned about crop insurance and the effects the heavily subsidized program has on the environment:
If not handled properly, the crop insurance program has the potential to turn into a boondoggle for taxpayers and a disaster for conservation. Loose requirements and lax enforcement could mean farmers getting revenue from crop insurance on land that never had a prayer of producing a decent yield.
It's crucial the final version of the farm bill continue to provide incentives for conservation and guard against misuse of crop insurance to guarantee revenue for those who destroy grassland and other wildlife habitat in a gamble to farm land that is poorly suited for crop production.
- The San Francisco Chronicle’s Caroline Lochhead has an explosive front page story on genetically modified crops. She points out that a new variety of corn engineered to make ethanol could destroy food products contaminated with the strain.
- Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott looks at dubious recent claims that industrial agriculture's yields outpace organic's.
- Australia is not convinced that the new Senate Ag Committee farm bill produced any reform or that it will lessen trade-distorting U.S. policies.
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