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The Subsidy Buffet

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kari Hamerschlag, senior food and agriculture analyst at the Environmental Working Group  breaks down just how bad the Senate Agriculture Committee version of the farm bill is for the good food movement.  Hamerschlag writes:

The farm bill draft released by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week (April 20) falls far short of providing farm and food policies Americans want. In a national poll last year, 78 percent said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and accessible should be a top priority in the farm bill. They’re going to be sorely disappointed. If it passes, this agribusiness-as-usual proposal will largely perpetuate our broken food and agriculture system, leaving in its wake a long legacy of poor health and degraded soil, water and habitat, especially in the industrial agriculture heartland.

Without the efforts of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the chair of the committee, the bill would have been even worse, but as it is, the proposal will continue to give away tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to the nation’s largest, most profitable and environmentally damaging farm businesses. To pay for this giveaway, the Agriculture committee’s proposal would slash programs for conservation, nutrition, rural development and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.

That’s exactly what Americans in the poll said they don’t want.

Read more here.

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Table Scraps

-       The Washington Times reports that farm bill plans to increase subsidies and taxpayer burden are wrongly labeled “reform.”

-        Doug Daigle of Louisiana Hypoxia Working Group suggests in an op-ed that the BP compensation fund could be used to combat the agriculture run-off fueled Gulf Dead Zone. When will industrial agriculture actually be held responsible for its pollution?

-       Great L.A. Times profile of the Mud Baron who helps set California kids on a course of healthy, sustainable eating by plantig school gardens.

Tweet of the day:

@michaelpollan What would a "healthy food" farm bill look like? Strong piece by EWG's Ken Cook & Kari Hamerschlag http://t.co/c04ujoma

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