Originally published January 10 2013
Threat of 'secret' farm bill looms as Big Ag pushes Congress for preferential treatment
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The American system of agriculture is riddled with problems, many of which are the culmination of decades' worth of bad policy and poor decision-making by Congress and federal regulators concerning farm subsidies. And in more recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that agriculture policy continues to be crafted in large part by and for special interest groups and Big Ag, rather than with the best interests of the people in mind.
This is definitely true of what has been dubbed over the past few months as the "secret" farm bill, or the set of so-called reforms being proposed by both the House and the Senate as part of the pent-annual farm bill revision. As usual, all the industry lobbyists made their voices heard loud and clear in the early months of 2012, and Congress subsequently came up with proposed farm bill revisions that, as we pointed out back in the summer, were not all that revisionary after all (http://www.naturalnews.com).
As "fiscal cliff" panic reached a climax towards the end of the 2012 year, there was more pressure than ever to get some kind of farm bill passed, as the previous farm bill revision was set to expire beginning in 2013. But with Congress still not unified on exactly what the new bill would entail, the old farm bill provisions ended up getting temporarily extended, despite warnings that food prices would increase and the price of milk would more than double.
Both old, new farm bills still favor Big Ag at taxpayers' expense Even if the farm bill revisions proposed by either the House or the Senate had been passed at the start of the new year as planned, however, not much would have changed. There was a lot of talk about how existing subsidy programs under the old farm bill were going to be scrapped and replaced with new and improved programs under the new plan, but the reality of the matter is that Big Ag is still the primary beneficiary in either case.
"The House bill's farm provisions would be an abundance of income subsidies, price supports, trade quotas, and other schemes that distort market prices, incentivize farmers to make risky land-use decisions, and undermine free trade," wrote Emily Goff for The Heritage Foundation about the proposed farm bill. "[The provisions] also unfairly punish taxpayers and consumers."
"Agriculture policy reform is long overdue, but both the House and Senate farm bills propose inadequate reforms and make matters worse. Rather than rely on taxpayer-funded subsidies, farmers could utilize existing market-based, non-governmental solutions to help manage their risk. Private insurance, crop diversification, credit reserves, and futures contracts and hedging are a few examples."
The reason why this is still important, of course, is because the extension of the 2008 farm bill is only temporary. According to a recent Reuters report, the so-called "dairy cliff" fix that that was put in place to avoid the alleged farm bill crisis is only valid for nine months, which means Congress will still have to iron out a plan for the next five-year farm bill in the coming months.
Tell Congress to end unfair crop subsidies, eliminate special interest influence What this also means is that the health freedom community must continue to remain vigilant in making its collective voice heard concerning agriculture policy, as the fight is not over. As we have covered previously, existing farm bill provisions favor subsidies that encourage American farmers to grow millions of acres of genetically-modified (GM) corn and soy, for instance, which we all know are used to produce junk food cheaply. The new farm bill proposals contain similar provisions.
Existing policy also favors industrial-scale factory farms that use high-intensity pesticides and pollute the earth, while small-scale organic growers are forced to compete at an unsubsidized disadvantage. This is not only inequitable, but it is also directly responsible for exacerbating the culture of obesity and sickness that exists in America today. And once again, not much would change in this department under the new proposals.
It is clear that Monsanto and the rest of the biotechnology and industrial agriculture cartel is not going to back down without a fight, which means we must be prepared to give it to them. And as details about the farm bill emerge over the next few months, we will keep you posted here at NaturalNews about its status. Until then, you can contact your Congressmen now and urge them to end the unfair crop subsidies that keep bad food cheap, as well as eliminate the special interest influences that traditionally craft farm bill policy.
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