Opinion: Congress should cut billions of dollars in farm subsidies that distort food prices, encourage overfarming and inflate price of land; continued pandering is out of touch
The New York Times 2011-01-15
Opinion: Obesity epidemic requires common sense - return P.E. to schools, offer better food in school cafeterias, end some subsidies, reward wellness in employer health plans, and eat more homemade dinners with our families
By David Gratzer, M.D.
The Washington Times 2011-01-07
By Brent Cunningham
Columbia Journalism Review 2010-05-04
Florida subdivision residents lose homes to sinkholes after farmers drain aquifers in bid to save strawberry crops from cold snap
By Barry Newman
The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-04-19
Opinion: To reduce childhood obesity, fix Farm Bill, which determines what children eat at school meals and subsidizes main ingredients of junk food - corn, wheat, soy
By Karen Nelson
Tucson Citizen 2010-02-08
If Tom Vilsack confirmed as USDA secretary, Iowa (No. 1 in corn, hogs, ethanol) will have one of its own heading agency that dispenses federal crop subsidies, controls nearly two million acres of Iowa land, regulates state's many slaughterhouses. He's sympathetic to agribusiness giants, supports biofuels, agricultural biotechnology. And: Former governor will oversee $95 billion budget, with bulk going to nutrition - food stamps, school lunches (click 'See also').
By Philip Brasher
The Des Moines Register 2008-12-16
For vocal coalition of parents, nutrition advocates and physicians, Congress and its support of the farm/food bill is the prime obstacle to nutritious, delicious foods for school children and for those in military. With legislation stalled in Senate, group sees chance to push its anti-corn dog agenda.
By Nicole Gaouette
Los Angeles Times 2007-11-25
School lunch tray becomes unifying symbol for farm-bill activists who support increase in fresh fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, lobbying ramps up for longstanding subsidy recipients, including Tyson, which received $46 million in 2005 and produces cheese, meat and starches.
By Erika Lovley
Bush vowed years ago to end expensive commodities subsidies but backed down. Now, his acting secretary of agriculture vows to recommend a veto of the Senate's version of the farm/food bill. Belated action is better than none for this bill and its billions in subsidies for corn, cotton, wheat, rice and sugar that U.S. agribusiness produces to excess.
The Cincinnati Post 2007-11-08
Existing farm/food bill fosters obesity and diabetes by subsidizing cheap junk food and fast food and encourages land, water and meat pollution by rewarding feedlot production of livestock and fence-row to fence-row cultivation of only a few crops. Then, its authors comfort critics with extra funds for nutrition programs and environmental cleanup.
By Michael Pollan
The New York Times 2007-11-04
If Congress can triumph over farm-state legislators' desires and overcome inertia to approve Lugar-Lautenberg bill, crop insurance would replace subsidies. It would save $20 billion over five years, and would funnel the savings to valuable soil, open space and wetlands preservation programs, as well as the food stamps program.
The New York Times 2007-11-03
This federal relic of a farm bill should be disavowed by Republicans because it's against free markets, self-reliance and small government, and shunned by Democrats because bit payouts are going to the rich. But agribusiness lobbyists fund politicians' campaigns, so politicians promise dollars.
By Victor Davis Hanson
Chicago Tribune; Tribune News Services 2007-11-02
Citing ills of industrial farming, pollution, and epidemics of obesity and diabetes, reform-minded citizens react to status-quo farm/food bill with emotions ranging from disappointment to fury, while faintly applauding increased funds for produce farmers, organic farming, conservation, and fruits and vegetables for schoolchildren.
By Carol Ness
San Francisco Chronicle 2007-11-01
Projected crop payment savings of $1 billion would boost food stamp program, land stewardship and renewable energy in Senate's version of farm/food bill, but Indiana Republican seeks Senate vote on cutting farm payments by $1.7 billion, replacing them with government-paid insurance and expanding nutrition programs with savings.
By Charles Abbott
New amendments to farm bill may provide more money for land stewardship, rural development, energy and public nutrition, but increased payments to farmers of wheat, barley and canola in new legislation could spur challenges from World Trade Organization, Senate Agriculture chair says.
By Charles Abbott
After fierce infighting, Senate Agriculture Committee votes to offer farmers an alternative safety net for low prices or bad weather; the $288 billion, five-year farm bill also provides additional funding for food stamps, conservation, fruit and vegetable industries, cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, and adds fish farming to insurance rolls.
By Dan Morgan
The Washington Post 2007-10-26
Farm bill provision would lift ban on shipping specialty meats not processed in one of 5,603 USDA-certified plants across state lines; critics worry about unsafe handling and food-borne illness, but champions say it's about the money, and wonder why meat and poultry from 34 countries can be freely shipped and sold anywhere in the U.S.
By Ashlea Ebeling
Forbes magazine 2007-10-22
To ensure success of bloated and antiquated bill that fills coffers of richest farmers, simply link it to the bill that helps 25 mostly urban and suburban million people with emergency food aid annually and the 4 million who rely on food pantries and soup kitchens every week, author says.
Derailed efforts to reform farm/food bill illustrates domination of farm-state lawmakers and deep-pocketed farm lobby, which controls legislation that will cost taxpayers some $288 billion over five years.
By David M. Herszenhorn
The New York Times 2007-10-24
Paying billions to producers of crops like wheat, corn and soybeans complicates trade negotiations and discriminates against poor farmers overseas who cannot compete; if Senate bows to pressure as did the House, administration should veto the farm/food bill.
The New York Times 2007-10-20
If New Zealand can quit subsidies cold turkey, surely farmers in the U.S. can accept reforms within farm bill now before Congress; hoping for low prices at harvest time is fundamentally perverse, but that's what happens when subsidies are linked to commodities prices.
By Dean Kleckner
The New York Times 2007-10-15
Old-time power politics, mastered by savvy lobbies of cotton and corn, is about sharp elbows and opportunistic alliances with farm/food bill now in Senate; despite obesity epidemic, crops that most Americans recognize as food don't rank.
By Andrew Martin
The New York Times 2007-10-04
New university-created tool helps farmers compare financial impact of existing payments of farm/food bill with alternative plan recommended by the Durbin-Brown team.
By John Hawkins
Illinois Farm Bureau 2007-09-14
The farm/food bill, now in Senate, covers land conservation, food stamps, school snacks and foreign aid, but it's really about politics and money; House agriculture chair declares that advocates for change were pushing too hard, but Bush likely would veto its version.
By Stephen J. Hedges
Chicago Tribune 2007-08-13
It's the 303 million overfed and undernourished Americans who deserve nutritional health and better food safety through the farm/food bill being debated in Congress, writes nutrition professional.
By Connie Diekman
President, American Dietetic Association; Chicago Tribune 2007-08-28
After years of delays, country-of-origin labels for beef, lamb, pork, perishable agricultural products, peanuts and other items, will soon be required, but politics plays favorites and many processed foods are exempt.
By Diedtra Henderson
The Boston Globe 2007-08-24
Though customers spend more than $14 billion a year on organics and depend on USDA label even for imports, USDA infrastructure, with nine staffers and a $1.5 million budget, languishes; other departments spend about $28 million a year on organic research, data collection and farmer assistance, but the department spent $37 million subsidizing farmers who grew dry peas, an $83 million crop, in 2005.
By Andrew Martin
The New York Times (may require subscription) 0000-00-00
CARE turns down $45 million in food aid from U.S., citing practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that compete with the crops of local farmers; other charities disagree.
By Celia W. Dugger
The New York Times (may require subscription)
Religious groups mobilize around the farm/food bill, speaking of justice and the urgent need to fix broken food system, from nutrition programs and energy policy to farmers and the wellbeing of the people they feed.
By Joe Orso
La Crosse Tribune; Associated Press, Wisconsin State Journal 0000-00-00
Government's subsidies to the very rich need to be addressed, but Congress should follow lead of the House in tending to nutrition needs of very poor around the world via the Food for Education program in the farm/food bill.
The Daily News Tribune (MA) 2007-08-28
Bush administration's buy-local request for emergency food aid could help Kenyans, some of the world's poorest people, advocates say, but U.S. is mired in domestic farm subsidies and lobbies of shipping interests; aid for agricultural projects lags as well.
By Celia W. Dugger
The New York times (may require subscription)
Current agricultural policies distort food costs, waste billions of taxpayer dollars, and subsidize a handful of large farming operations that raise a few selected crops - and subvert subsistence farmers across the globe by dumping cheap surplus goods at below-market prices.
By Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Ron Kind
The Modesto Bee (CA) 2007-07-15
It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.
By Carol Ness
San Francisco Chronicle