The New Farm Bill and Our Rotten Politicians

farm chicken

photo: oakwoodfarmservices.co.uk

Yesterday, the Senate approved the new $956,000,000,000 Farm Bill and it is on its way to President Obama for signature. Yes, close to ONE TRILLION dollars of spending over the next ten years. The Bill has been in the works for 2 years, and was originally slated for 2013. But Washington D.C. is so polarized these days that it’s a miracle any piece of legislation gets through.

The Farm Bill mostly budgets 2 things:

  • Subsidies for farmers
  • SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps.

The problem with the bill is that thousands of special interest groups have stuffed their hands into the trillion dollar jackpot by aggressively lobbying and squeezing relevant congresspeople to allocate funds for their needs. In the meantime, America’s poorest take an eight billion dollar cut in food assistance.

According to Twilight Greenaway at Civil Eats:

The bill puts an end to direct payments to large farms, but expands crop insurance programs, which have generally gone to pay the top-earning farms to continue producing the Big Five commodities (corn, wheat, soy, rice, and cotton) in a less-than-sustainable ways.

Why do we need more soy and corn, already produced in excess. Could it be to manufacture even more  ?

Marion Nestle calls the Farm Bill politically corrupt because:

  • It is not about what’s best for the American people, farmers, or the poor; it is about what’s best for getting legislators elected.
  • It represents a substantial transfer of taxpayer dollars to the wealthiest “farmers” (i.e., agribusiness) at the expense of the poor and, therefore, legislates further income inequity.

The Washington Post summarizes this perfectly:

Exhausted by two years of trench warfare by farm lobbies, lawmakers are desperate to pass this turkey and move on. President Obama can put them out of their misery by signing it — or stand up for his declared principles by vetoing it.

Get Fooducated

  • jabyssal

    The free market is a pretty interesting concept. When you can by and
    sell politicians visa vie funds for their ever present reelection
    campaigns, we definitely get what the lobbyists pay for.

  • Godfather 065

    I Would hope that President Obama will stand by principles and veto this obscene piece of pork barrel legislation. Unless there is an agreement to increase funding to the FS program
    indefinitely to include both additional increased amounts for people to live on and for the returned and wounded and/or disabled vets.

  • Chef Mike in Burlington ON

    Obama veto this?? Not a chance, he’s been the best Republican president since Nixon, a feat made even more incredible because he’s apparently a Democrat. He’s a lame duck killing time until 2016 and he’s practicing the “politics of the possible”, doing just enough for legacy but not screwing the Dem’s for 2016…and we thought Canadian politics is messed up…

  • Tina

    FOODUCATE should stick to educating about food and eschew politics since many of us believe the (well meaning) food stamp program is out of control. The president should concentrate on working with Congress to ENCOURAGE (instead of demonizing) businesses to create JOBS, thus giving people the opportunity for upward mobility instead of waiting for handout.

    • Valerie100200

      Not all individuals on food stamps are lacking sufficient employment because they are unable to find work or do not have the education to ‘move up’ in the career force. While this is true for some, it certainly isn’t across the board. At age 18 I set out to complete my PhD through many rigorous years of schooling. Just prior to my graduation I was diagnosed with a debilitating illness that has never allowed me to enter the work force or live a typical life for that matter. I receive help from the government to meet my nutrition needs. I don’t have a penny to my name, I worked hard all of my life, I am higly educated and don’t get ‘hand outs.’ Food stamps are my survival. I am appreciative because if it wasn’t for food stamps I would not have even mediocre nutrition. Food stamps are not glorious- there’s no gluten free, organic, top of theine frozen vegetable medleys, almond milk. It’s the basic Milk, bread, cheese and frozen peas.

      • Tammy

        I don’t know about the basics, here in mn the food stamp people are buying steaks and other luxurious foods. I being a farmer do not eat like the food stamp receivers.

  • Doreen Outreach Missions

    Pray for the People, farmers, and the Poor that we the People, for the people and by the people receive our miracle and those in authority do the right thing for the people! Farm to table is The Best Way!

  • Robin

    Some people simply don’t make enough to afford proper nutrition without a little assistance. Instead of “demonizing” your fellow human beings who are laid off or struggling to make enough to pay bills, let alone feed themselves, you should just be grateful that you have all your needs met. My mother left an abusive husband with 2 kids, worked 2 jobs and STILL had to get foodstamps. So, Tammy does that make her a lazy low life because reality didn’t pan out the way she planned?! She did the best she could with what she had AND I don’t recall all these “steak” dinners you speak of. I remember going to bed hungry several times. People need to quit with their steriotypes. We all deserve to have sustainance and to say otherwise is just evil!