Budget blues

Farm subsidies and other agricultural politics

April 18, 2011

As Congress tries to figure out a federal budget, farm activists have been trying to encourage agricultural reform. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, for example, is concerned about cuts overall, especially to farmland-conservation efforts. The Environmental Working Group isn’t pleased that the feds want to chop funding for nutrition programs while retaining farm subsidies. And Mark Bittman wants the government to overhaul its farm-subsidy system altogether:

Imagine support designed to encourage a resurgence of small- and medium-size farms producing not corn syrup and animal feed but food we can touch, see, buy and eat — like apples and carrots — while diminishing handouts to agribusiness and its political cronies.

In the background, of course, is the knowledge that, in 2012, the Farm Bill is up for review once again. If reform can start now . . . well, imagine that.

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