—by Lois Braun, HPC Member (October/November 2006)
About 45% of all land in this country is used for agriculture, more than for any other single activity. Thus agricultural policy is everybody’s business, not just that of farmers. Farm policy affects you even though you live in a city, and even though you might not have any family left on the farm. It affects you because, not only do you eat food, but you drink water, breathe air, and pay taxes. It affects you if you like to fish, canoe, or swim in natural bodies of water.
As a human being, you deserve safe nourishing food, clean air, and clean water. The farm bill should deliver these, but it doesn’t; and thus it is wasting taxpayers’ money—YOUR money. In the farm bill we are not getting what we pay for. Discussions are starting now about the next farm bill, which will come out in 2007. It is time for city people to get involved.
Origins of the Farm Program
The original idea of the farm program was good. It started at a time when the majority of our nation’s population were farmers, and a majority of farmers were poor due in part to wildly fluctuating crop prices. So price support systems were enacted that made up the difference to farmers when prices of “commodity crops” (corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, cotton) fell below a baseline.
Why It Hasn't Worked