Monday, May 12, 2008

Farm Bill analysis

Here is an excerpt of a Farm Bill analysis on Friday, following reports that Congressional negotiators had completed their work.
... At a time of record farm income, Congress chose to further increase farm subsidy rates, require the American taxpayers to subsidize the incomes of married farmers already earning up to $1.5 million per year, and expand government control over farm programs. This bill also adds a number of provisions never considered by the full Congress such as numerous trade-related provisions and expansion of the Davis-Bacon Act. Congress should reconsider increasing by $20 billion the current spending level of $596 billion over 10 years.

This Farm Bill Asks American Taxpayers To Support Still Higher Subsidies During A Time Of Record Farm Income

The United States' booming farm economy makes it impossible to justify further increasing subsidy rates and establishing additional subsidies for some crops. With rising food prices and farm income at an all-time high, Congress should not be looking to increase the burden on taxpayers by forcing them to further subsidize the part of our economy that is setting records....

Congress Should Not Jeopardize America's Support For The Farm Bill By Increasing Subsidies Without Real Reform

The lack of reform in this bill puts future farm bills in jeopardy by eroding overall support for farm programs.

The farm bill fails to adequately reform payment limitations and instead allows for excessively high limits on the level of allowable income for receiving farm subsidies. The Administration originally proposed to lower to $200,000 the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit for receiving farm program subsidies. Congress wants to allow subsidies to continue for married couples who farm and have adjusted gross income of $1.5 million and for people with AGI of $500,000 who are not full-time farmers.

The farm bill fails to reform crop subsidies by increasing instead of decreasing the subsidy level for many crops at a time of record crop prices and record farm income. This legislation would establish additional subsidies for dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, and large chickpeas. This amounts to adding crops to more subsidy programs....

The bill also restricts international emergency food aid, putting millions of people at risk and undermining our ability to save lives. This provision would alter current law by restricting the ability to redirect food aid dollars for emergency use, limiting the government's ability to respond to emergencies.

The bill walks away from conservation. The Administration is disappointed that the Conservation Title is nearly $4 billion less than the Administration’s proposal. It reduces enrollment in Wetlands Reserve Program WRP by thousands of acres, falling short of the President's goal of 250,000 acres enrolled per year. The bill dismantles the sodsaver proposal that would protect native grasslands from being cultivated to capture subsidies....
But please don't make me identify the author of this analysis. You may not like it. It may cause you to ignore the good common sense. Sigh. Okay, it's the White House.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I work at a food bank now, and I had an interesting time explaining to my ED why the President would veto the bill and that it has nothing to do with the anti-hunger initiatives involved. There's a good debate over at Gristmill about whether or not sustainable ag advocates should support the veto.

Sarah B.
AFE '07

Anonymous said...

You should check out Raj Patel's website, stuffedandstarved.org. He just wrote a book by the same name which has a whole chapter dedicated to this. It's pretty shocking stuff.

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