This fall, Congress will decide whether to reauthorize or revamp the Farm Bill—legislation that helps determine how federal funds are allocated to programs that stipulate what foods are available, how much they cost and where and how they’re grown. “If you eat or pay taxes, if you care about children, the land or small farmers, you have a strong stake in these policies,” says Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill (Watershed Media, 2007). What’s wrong with the current bill? You do the math.
90 billion dollars (per year) at stake under Farm Bill legislation
20 billion taxpayer dollars spent on crop subsidies in 2005
92% of subsidies spent on just five crops: corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans
520 million bushels of corn processed into high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in 2006
33 pounds of sweeteners derived from one bushel of corn
35 gallons of (HFCS-sweetened) soft drinks the average American consumes in a year
25% decrease in the prices of soft drinks (1985-2000)**
40% increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables (1985-2000)**
33 million Americans who cannot afford to eat balanced meals
**Adjusted for inflation.
Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff
2007 World of Corn, National Corn Growers Association
Fairness in the Fields: A vision for the 2007 Farm Bill, Oxfam America
Food Without Thought: How U.S. Farm Policy Contributes to Obesity, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Food Availability Data Sets