It’s the Agronomy, Stupid

Yesterday, Tom Philpott did a masterful job explaining why gutting subsidies shouldn’t be the focus of Farm Bill reform efforts. He zeros right in on overproduction as the real culprit and calls for support of the Dorgan Grassley amendment to
the 2007 Farm Bill.

To defend those of us (including the PC(USA)), who have been advocating for reform of the subsidies system, at the most basic level, reforming the subsidies system is important because if less money was going to (especially the largest often corporate) commodity crop farms, those farms would not be pumping out so many corn kernels, soybeans and cotton, and reeking so much havoc on our diets and, yes, driving production and lowering crop prices.

Subsidies enable U.S. commodity crop farmers to continue farming, despite these low prices, and in the face of growing competition from farmers in Brazil, Argentina and China, to name the biggest producers. But Philpott is right that cutting subsidies alone will not solve all the problems. Many other parts of our food and agriculture system and policies drive overproduction. The National Family Farm Coalition explains many of those on their website.

But give “It’s the Agronomy, Stupid” a read. It helps clarify a lot in this enormous bill!

“A lot of people, myself among them, have spent substantial time this
year trying to demystify the 2007 Farm Bill. But as it lurches into its
stretch run — with passage possible by year-end — I fear that the
bill is more shrouded in mystery than ever, even among
sustainable-agriculture advocates.” Read on…


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