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"The Nation" calls for action on 2007 Farm Bill

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do you think current farm policy favor corporations over small farmers and consumers? The Nation does, and they want you to weigh in on the drafting of the 2007 Farm Bill. An Read the suggested text after the jump--or click right through to the site.

I make educated choices about what I eat, because I’m aware of how these choices affect my health as well as the environment and the economy. I am also an active citizen, and would like to add my voice to the discussion about the upcoming Farm Bill.

As you may know, the Farm Bill of 2002 greatly benefited the corn and soybean industries, which received large federal subsidies.

The artificially reduced prices of corn and soy products have negatively impacted both the health of consumers and the financial operations of small farmers. Consumers, especially those with limited budgets, find it most affordable to purchase the least nutritious and most fattening foods. At the same time, small farmers are forced to compete in a marketplace where the balance is tipped in the favor of their giant competitors. These locally-oriented, low-output farmers tend to be the ones who employ the most sustainable farming methods.

Lobbyists for the food and agriculture industries would like to see the 2007 Bill redesigned to weaken global trade barriers, while maintaining the status quo that ensures billion-dollar subsidies for them.

But the Farm Bill of 2007 could instead help usher in an environmentally sound, economically equitable and health conscious approach to agriculture.

This would be easily accomplished by allocating higher commodity payments to small farmers, who represent over 90 percent of American farms. Currently, most small farms operate at a loss, supplemented by alternative income sources like farmers’ second jobs.

The Farm Bill of 2007 should also devote more funding to support research, consumer nutrition programs and marketing that foster a diverse assortment of grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts in the marketplace.

It is my hope that as my elected representative, you will join the call for a Farm Bill that includes the aforementioned considerations, and ensure its passage in Congress when the time comes.