Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pros and Cons of the New Farm Bill



  1. Congress has reached a tentative agreement on a new farm bill which takes a few baby steps in the right direction, but doesn't do much overall in the way of reversing some of the lousier policies behind our current food woes.

The Pros:

-There's a $1 billion a year increase in spending on food stamps and other nutritional programs.

-There's a $3.8 billion disaster relief program for farmers.

-There's a bit of a reduction in the amount of subsidies that large-scale farms can receive on their acreage.

-There's a small reduction in tax credits for ethanol processors.

Cons:

-The bill is still geared towards subsidizing the production of a limited number of commodities, rather than building a diversified agricultural system.

-The bill still includes tax credits for ethanol, even if they've been reduced a bit. The recent move towards using corn for fuel rather than for food is one of the reasons behind recent food shortages.

It would have been encouraging to get some more support from the powers that be, but it looks like, once again, the sustainable food movement is going to be forced to fall back on its own ingenuity and resourcefulness.

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