Farm/Food Bill

Opinion: Reform subsidies so they encourage small- and medium-size farms producing food we can touch, see, buy and eat -- apples and carrots -- and shrink handouts to agribusiness

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-03-01

Lawmaker and chair of Ag panel must walk a tightrope between addressing nation's nutrition needs, backing Michigan's second-largest industry and luring GOP backers

By Nathan Hurst

The Detroit News 2011-02-07

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

New dietary guidelines, fights over funding of food safety bill, initial salvos over 2012 farm bill, school meals, and food firms co-opting critics predicted to make 2011 headlines

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-02

Opinion: Now that tax-cut deal is done, Obama must rebut calls for premature spending cuts; if required, first cuts must include subsidies for corn ethanol, other farm products

The editors

The New York Times 2010-12-19

Incoming legislators' vow to cut spending brings farm subsidies into focus - they have brought money and jobs to districts, benefited some GOP lawmakers, families

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; 2010-11-14

Class issues permeate food system, underlining need for coherent policy, argues columnist for Grist

By Brent Cunningham

Columbia Journalism Review 2010-05-04

Opinion: Beyond accord that requires U.S. to pay $147.3 million in subsidies to Brazilian cotton growers, negotiators also agree to ease restrictions on Brazilian beef

By Michael Grunwald

Time magazine 2010-04-09

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

Farmers' diversified agriculture system may solve energy, health care and climate crises, Michael Pollan tells farmers

By Matthew Weaver

Capital Press (Salem, OR) 2010-01-17

Opinion: Waiting for substance from USDA on sustainability

USDA's new farm-to-community initiative is mostly symbol. Backbone of program is a new website for agency's existing 20-odd local-food support programs, plus extra $50 million to get more local produce into school cafeterias, as well as relaxing of rules on shipping meat, poultry across state lines. But most programs were made law in 2008 Farm Bill, which will dole out $35 billion in subsidies to agribusinesses for corn, wheat, soybeans. Until that changes, this is just talk.

By Barry Estabrook of the Plate 2009-09-17

Opinion: Feds subsidize causes, treatment of diet-related disease

By not addressing food system reform in health care reform, government is putting itself in position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. One of the leading products of American food industry has become patients for American health care industry. When terms like 'pre-existing conditions' vanish, relationship between health insurance industry and food industry will change. When health insurers can no longer evade costs of treating results of American diet, food system reform movement - farm policy, food marketing, school lunches - will gain powerful, wealthy ally.

By Michael Pollan

The New York TImes 2009-09-10

Titans seek 50-year farm bill that grows food, local ecosystems

Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Fred Kirschenmann - heroes of urban agrarian constituency - visit D.C. to promote 50-year-farm bill, a proposal for gradual, systemic change in American farming. Plan asks for $50 million annually for plant breeding and genetics research, puts forward vision of agriculture that values yields, local ecosystems, healthy food, rural communities. And: Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland, they write (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-07-22

See also 

Obama farm subsidy cuts absent from Congressional budget outlines

House, Senate include no limits on farm subsidies in budget outlines despite Obama's ambitious plan to cut them, though Senate does make modest trim on crop insurance programs. Critic says administration was more careful in laying groundwork for initiatives on climate change, health care. Resolutions protect health care, energy, education and reduce deficit, say Democrats, administration.

By David M. Herszenhorn

The New York Times 2009-04-03

Rich farmers still receiving crop subsidies, report says

Payments to rich farmers in 2003-'06 totaled $49 million and expose USDA problems, GAO says, but agency says it lacks authority to check payments against tax returns. Payments favor wheat, corn, rice, cotton growers; produce growers don't receive direct subsidies. And: Obama says unwarranted payments are prime example of waste he intends to end (click 'See also').

By Michael Doyle

McClatchy Newspapers 2008-11-25

See also 

USDA, Congress bicker over farm size threshold for payouts

Farm/food bill architects in Congress say that proposed USDA rule would cut out payments to small-acreage farmers by ignoring 'statement of intent' that accompanied law. But USDA says Congress debated provision that would have aggregated acreage to qualify for payments but removed it to save $34 million over five years.

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ 2008-08-13

Food aid separated from farm/food bill; farmer payments could grow by billions

Lawmakers say they will take up farm/food bill's trade policy section, which includes international food aid programs, as a separate bill after pages were inadvertently dropped from original version that was OK'd by Congress after president's veto. And: Little-noticed provision of farm/food bill could increase payments to farmers by billions of dollars if high commodity prices fall to more typical levels (click 'See also').

By Jonathan Weisman

The Washington Post 2008-05-23

See also 

Opinion: Icing on the cake

Farm/food bill will protect sugar industry from free trade. Bill also will require government to buy sugar at inflated rates and sell it cheaply for ethanol production. Sugar policy estimated to cost taxpayers $1.9 billion a year in high prices, plus another $1 billion-plus in the next decade for other programs used to prop up prices.

By Jay Hancock

The Baltimore Sun 2008-05-16

Farm/food bill to Bush

Senate sends veto-proof $290 billion farm/food bill to President Bush. Bill includes 'permanent disaster' money for farmers who plant wheat in marginal prairie land now set aside for wildlife and watershed protection. Barack Obama said the bill will 'provide America's hard-working farmers and ranchers with more support and more predictability.'

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2008-05-16

Farm/food bill fate predicted

President Bush will veto new farm/food bill, USDA secretary says, and lawmakers begin effort to override. The nearly $300 billion bill expands subsidies to farmers, protects sugar industry and boosts conservation. Most of the spending goes to food stamps, school lunches and other nutrition programs. For farm/food bill history, click 'See also.'

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-05-08

See also 

Bush scrutinizes feeding programs in farm/food bill

As farm/food bill nears completion in Congress, President Bush asks for details on the $60 billion for food stamps, the school lunch program and WIC (Women, Infants, Children) program. President has spoken against lax limits on farm subsidies, the farm disaster program and sugar supports in bill; lawmakers prepare to gather veto-proof majority.

CQ Politics 2008-05-07

Crisis pushes 'buy local' aid in farm/food bill

Worsening food crisis pushes Congress to OK Bush administration's plan to buy emergency food locally, rather than shipping US crops to poor nations, often through aid groups or UN. The plan, part of farm/food bill, is opposed by agribusiness interests and shippers.

By Missy Ryan

Reuters; The Guardian (UK) 2008-05-06

Sugar lobbies for farm/food bill support

Lawmaker's insistence on Minnesota sugar supports stalls farm/food bill. Provision mandates U.S. purchase of imported sugar to sell at loss for ethanol production rather than allowing its sale by retailers. Government's support already includes producer loans and controls on amount of sugar on market. Estimated cost: $1 billion, through 2017 (click 'See also').

By Greg Hitt

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-05-05

See also 

Farm/food bill showdown

President Bush, Nancy Pelosi face collision as he derides 'bloated' farm/food bill and she builds veto-proof coalition by appeasing special interest groups. The $93 million racehorse tax write-off is nearly as much as organic farmers will get for research, data collection and certification help for small growers. Income limits for subsidy recipients, and limits on payments to individuals still undecided (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2008-05-04

See also 

Farm/food bill criticism

Calling farm/food bill 'bloated' and complaining that it doesn't go far enough to solve food price crisis, President Bush presses lawmakers for bigger cuts in subsidies. Amendment that ensures tax-free shipping of Haitian clothing made with global supplies joins others that benefit racehorse investors, domestic timber companies, and causes debate.

By Greg Hitt

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-04-30

Farm/food bill reaction

Citing its $16 billion in new spending, proposed farm/food bill is too expensive considering record grain prices, President Bush says. He urges Congress to extend current bill for at least one year. Bush said it appeared unlikely Congress would produce an acceptable bill by Friday.

The Associated Press; Star Tribune (MN) 2008-04-22

Asparagus maneuver

Michigan lawmaker insists that farm/food bill include $15 million for asparagus farmers hurt by competition with South American countries, but others disagree. Bush administration sees measure as competing with international trade efforts.

By Michael Doyle

The Modesto Bee (CA) 2008-04-18

Food aid debate

Global food crisis adds urgency to farm/food bill before Congress. Administration says restricting up to $600 million for long-term aid could leave eight million hungry. President also wants to buy food closer to where it's needed, saving shipping costs and time, but farm and shipping lobbies oppose measure. Congress asks for more time to negotiate (click 'See also').

By Missy Ryan

Reuters; The Guardian (UK) 2008-04-16

See also 

Opinion/Blog: Farm/food bill proposal

Bipartisan House farm bill proposal avoids new taxes and includes: $9 billion increase for food stamps and nutrition programs; $4 billion increase for conservation programs and $1.3 billion more to benefit fruit and vegetable growers; and country-of-origin labeling of imported meat. It also guarantees farmers $52 billion in automatic payments over the next 10 years even if prices stay high. Click 'See also' for investigation of agricultural subsidies.

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-04-10

See also 

Food aid skirmish

Despite soaring commodity prices and stagnant food aid budgets, coalition of farm and shipping groups lobby lawmakers to reject Bush administration's 'buy local' proposal. Plan would allow purchase of food aid near where it's needed. Also under debate is farm/food bill proposal to set aside funds for long-term food aid programs.

By Missy Ryan

Reuters 2008-03-31

Failure to reform

Despite support from president and diverse groups on reform of farm/food bill, farm lobby spent $80 million and so far has protected status quo, with bill even larger than 2002 version. Supporters peeled off: some lawmakers facing election abandoned effort; alliances between rural (commodities subsidies) and urban (food stamps) proved difficult to untie. Agriculture and related industries, including processed food and beverages, make up five percent of nation's annual gross domestic product.

By Lauren Etter and Gret Hitt

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-03-27

Farm/food bill talk

Administration, in letter, agrees to total of $10 billion in spending and concedes to $500,000 income cutoff for farmers, if Congress enacts farm/food bill reform. Cuts would include abandonment of plan to guarantee U.S. sugar farmers 85 percent of the domestic food market as well as the promise that USDA would buy sugar surplus for ethanol.

By Bill Tomson

Dow Jones Newswires; Cattle Network 2008-03-04

Opinion: Sowing reform

Farm subsidies system is broken, but there is hope for reform in President Bush, who is on the right side of the problem. Needed is a fair farm/food bill that increases spending for underfunded programs including food stamps and conservation while decreasing subsidies to rich farmers.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-02-22

Opinion: A great robbery

Despite exciting, sustained bipartisan effort on farm/food bill reform, House panel seems to attempt to postpone any possibility of wider reforms with 10-year renewal of the farm bill, instead of the normal five years, then suggests cutting new programs and continuing subsidies to rich farmers. Burying reform for 10 years would be outrageously unfair.

The editors

Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) 2008-02-17

Without a trace?

Rural America advocates speculate about the un-mention of stalled farm/food bill in State of the Union address, and pundits detect indifference of administration that could play out in November elections. Speech had been seen as chance to prod Congress into resolving income limits for crop subsidy recipients and financing expanded nutrition programs.

By David Rogers

Politico 2008-01-31

Factory farm incentive

Our tax dollars help factory farming grow by paying farmers to clean up their air and water pollution and to manage the mountains of manure produced by livestock living in packed conditions. The $1.3 billion program allows a farmer up to $450,000 during the bill's life, and is up for renewal in the farm/food bill. Biggest takers in 2006: Iowa, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2008-01-13

See also 

Farming compromise

Lobbying and negotiations are under way for the farm/food bill as the House and Senate begin movement toward a joint bill that likely will include support for California's fruit, vegetable and nut farming. But the administration, unhappy with crop subsidies and a cotton clause, has threatened a veto.

By Hank Shaw

The Record (CA) 2007-12-28

Chips in school

Democrats' concerns about federal preemption of stricter state standards and Republicans' worries about restrictions on snack foods played into Senate's abandonment of amendment to its farm/food bill that would have limited processed, packaged snacks in public schools.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2007-12-15

Farming subsidies

Though radical reform movement lost in Senate, it made progress against subsidies for corn, cotton, rice, wheat, soybeans, sugar and dairy and progress for nutrition, conservation and environmental programs. The failed amendment's broad-based support could mean trouble for farm bill when it reaches talks with House in January.

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-12-12

Farm/food bill Q&A

Getting to the basics of conflict over the $288 billion, five-year, 1,600-page bill with nothing about farm in its title, yet long a subsidy source for farmers of cotton, wheat, rice, corn and soybeans.

By Nicole Gaouette

Los Angeles Times 2007-12-02

Farm/food bill dilemma

For many lawmakers, high price of farm/food bill is balanced by opportunity to include policies and projects that help their states and are popular with their personal voters as they head toward an election year.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Kansas City Star 2007-11-11

Opinion: Aid for 1936?

With food prices rising faster than any time in 17 years and best gains in farm riches in two decades, the current version of the farm/food bill, with its direct transfer from taxpayers to mostly rich corporate farmers, means "no farmer left behind."

The editors

The Wall Street Journal 2007-11-14

Who is anti-farm?

Food fight gets nasty before Senate vote stalls progress on farm/food bill and Congress heads home for Thanksgiving holiday. Possible course for bill, the true name of which is Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, is extending current version through September.

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-11-16

Farm/food bill delay

Dealing a blow to the farm-state lawmakers, Senate blocks vote on farm/food bill after squabbling over unrelated amendments that Republicans want to add. But committee leader wonders if action was orchestrated to protect Bush from fallout if he vetoes popular bill, as promised.

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press 2007-11-16

Bogged bill

As White House cites lack of reform and threatens veto of farm/food bill, Senate leaders consider deciding in private about number of amendments. Possible add-ons include those on Iraq war, immigration reform, estate tax and renewable fuels standards for ethanol industry.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2007-11-06

Opinion: Making good

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 editors

The Cincinnati Post 2007-11-08

Opinion: Funding Twinkies

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

Opinion: Farm bill progress

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 editors

The New York Times 2007-11-03

Opinion: Again?

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

Falling short

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

Food stamps bill

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

Reuters 2007-11-01

Agriculture choice

Bush picks Edward Schafer, a former governor of North Dakota and fan of smaller government, as new secretary of agriculture. If Senate confirms appointment, Schafer will have input on $288 billion farm/food bill and oversight of $90 billion a year in spending on programs including crop supports, food stamps and nutrition.

By David Stout

The New York Times 2007-10-31

Farm/food bill

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

Opinion: Strategic thinking

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.


Business as usual

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

Opinion: Farm bill reform

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 editors

The New York Times 2007-10-20

Left out

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

Calculating future:

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

See also 

Letters: Future health:

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

Orphan organics?

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

No, thank you

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)

Fixing the system:

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

Opinion: Hungry children, fed:

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 editors

The Daily News Tribune (MA) 2007-08-28

Food/Farm bill:

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

Food/Farm bill:

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