Monday, March 03, 2008

Your Government Against Farmers

Thanks to a heads up from Steve at YDD I got my shorts in a knot the first thing this morning. If you are a regular visitor here you have had an earful of my preaching about organic and locally produced fruit and vegetables and how important it is to support your local farmers by shopping the farmer's markets when they are in season and buying locally produced fruit and vegetables in your markets.

Now it turns out that your and my tax dollars are actually being spent by the Federal Department of Agriculture to penalize farmers that want to grow fruit and vegetables instead of one of the federally subsidized crops (corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, and rice). That's right, your read that correctly, your government penalizes farmers who want to respond to the growing demand for locally produced fruit and vegetables by shifting some of their acreage from subsidized crops.

If you read the whole article linked above you will discover that because of lobbying by big agriculture from California and Florida you can be fined for growing fruit and vegetables instead of the subsidized crops and not only that you can be prevented from ever growing the subsidized crops on the same acreage again. Evidently the new farm bill being negotiated is going to make it even more painful. All of this is because the big industrial agricultural companies don't want to have to compete with local farmers for your business. We are going need more of our farmland turned to producing fruit and vegetables not less. The current law even encourages the farmers to leave the land fallow if it is not going to used for a subsidized crop.

If you needed an excuse to write your Congressman you couldn't find a better issue than this. It is absolutely outrageous not to mention another stupid example of how big business and their influence in government is totally out of control.

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