Industrial ag can’t get enough federal bucks?
Snow us the money! David Goldstein, Washington correspondent for McClatchy newspapers, reports that three senators are standing up for the poor, neglected industrial agriculture industry against the wicked Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From the story:
Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas , John McCain of Arizona and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia complained in a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that his agency spent $65 million last year on a program “aimed at small, hobbyist and organic producers whose customers generally consist of affluent patrons at urban farmers markets.”
Maybe someone should tell the senators about the soaring use of SNAP benefits (aka food stamps) at farmers markets. Could it be that poor people recognize good, healthy food when they eat it too? And what a slap at the farmers who grow food for direct sale to people who eat it. The lawmakers evidently don’t know how much hard work is involved if they think it’s a hobby.
Goldstein also spoke with Bruce Babcock, an economist and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. The money quote (emphasis added):
[Babcock] said it was “ironic” that the senators and others objected to the USDA spending $65 million on Know Your Farmer when commodity producers received $5 billion during the past two years, and the crop insurance industry received $7 billion.
Sounds like the senators want their friends to get all the money, not just 99% of it.
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