Congress Ignores Small Farmers, Does Favors for Biotech

The final 2013 federal appropriations bill contains riders harmful to farmers and benefiting the biotech industry, and it does not extend funding to a variety of small farmers. “Entire sectors of agriculture are being told they do not count, and the innovation and job-creating potential of these programs is being lost,” writes the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “At the same time, Congress continues to provide antiquated direct production subsidies despite high commodity prices and farm income, and despite decisions by both Agriculture Committees and by the full Senate in 2012 to terminate them.”

This stupidity makes it harder for small farmers to survive and for you to buy from them at quality farmers’ markets. How could there be more people in this country who support subsidizing wealthy corporate farmers who are polluting our water, destroying the soil, and sickening animals and humans alike every year? How could there be more people who choose not to support small farmers all over this country in every state who strive to feed us at the local level? I don’t believe there are.

Big farms and chemical companies are giving lots of money to decision-makers, but I do see a change in the wind. Every day the newspaper features an article about our food system, or a new discovery about the effect of some nutrient in our food on our health, or about some positive development about school lunches — not to mention the astounding data and comments on the Web. And documentary films just keep coming in spite of new laws across the country that make it a crime to document the activities of farmers and slaughterhouses that lead to illness and death. I have a feeling these videographers will just keep on shooting and take their chances with juries, which will be made up people like you and me who will be appalled at what they see.