Thursday, April 10, 2008

Big Agra Winning
Big agra is winning the corporate welfare in the farm bill. Here is Daniel Imhoff in the LA Times.

But, by and large, the farm bill song remains the same: Commodity agribusiness gets the lion's share; reformers get table scraps. Absent a more vocal public outcry, the agribusiness lobby, which spent $80 million in 2007, again holds the winning hand.

What can we citizens expect if the proposed $300-billion farm bill is signed into law? Federally subsidized feed -- corn, soybeans and cottonseed -- for animal factory farms that spread disease, greenhouse gases and dangerous working conditions wherever they set up shop. (Farm bill "environmental quality" programs will even pay up to $450,000 for the construction of lined "lagoons" to be filled with lethal concentrations of manure.) The continuation of America's obesity campaign, which ensures the cheapest and most widely available foods are made up of such high-calorie ingredients as high-fructose corn syrup, refined flours, saturated fats and unhealthy meat and dairy products. And more federally backed exports of California's water -- in the form of cotton and rice, mostly sold overseas.

But here's the one that's really hard to stomach. More than $4 billion in permanent disaster assistance to growers in the Northern Plains. The brainchild of Montana Democrat and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, this is essentially a trust fund to guarantee income to farmers plowing up prairies and grasslands -- lands prone to drought and erosion -- to plant corn and wheat. Many observers fear a second Dust Bowl.

We must stop the insanity. Click on the fix the farm bill button upper right to see how.

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