Old Mc’Donald Would be Shocked: The Dark Side of the U.S. Farm Bill

For a piece of legislation with such an innocuous-sounding name, the U.S. Farm Bill sure causes a lot of damage. The Farm Bill impacts food prices and the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in developing countries worldwide. From its guidelines on subsidies to its approach to food aid, this piece of domestic legislation is causing quite a lot of trouble overseas.

For example: after the earthquake in 2010, Haitian rice farmers found themselves in a losing competition with free U.S. rice distributed as food aid. And several years ago, U.S. subsidies for biofuels helped send the price of corn soaring, contributing to a global food crisis in 2008 that left 100 million more people hungry.

In fact, policies in the Farm Bill impact nearly all of the grassroots NGOs and local communities that AJWS works with in developing countries. And unfortunately, they can’t do a thing about it.

But we can.

The Farm Bill is up for revision in 2012, and we have the power to reform it for the better.

I’ll be reaching out to you in the coming months to tell you more about ways to take action. In the meantime, visit our advocacy page to learn more and consider participating in Global Hunger Shabbat, in November.

This entry was posted in Food Justice, Human Rights, Outraged!, Take Action and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Old Mc’Donald Would be Shocked: The Dark Side of the U.S. Farm Bill

  1. Remy says:

    Merci, je me suis permis d’utiliser votre article sur mon blog.

  2. Brad Wilson says:

    It’s a wonderful thing that you’re addressing these issues, and you have excellent goals. Unfortunately, you seem to be missing part of the story. Note above that you criticize the dumping of rice in Haiti causing low prices for farmers there. Then you criticize biofuels for causing high prices for crops (and this also helps raise rice prices) and hunger. This is a contradiction, and will confuse your readers. You fail to offer a standard for fair prices, fair trade prices. In fact biofuels have some upward impact on prices and push prices upward, which reduces export dumping (at below cost, and it also reduces exports at below fair trade levels). In 2005 we had the lowest corn prices in history (Track Record Book: Crop Production) and the greatest export dumping ratio (IATP “a decade of dumping”). That is not a fair trade standard. On the other hand, we reduced corn, rice etc. prices since 1953 by lowering price floors (not mentioned here or in the quiz). Recent yearly average prices have not been “soaring” above the 1952 standard (parity) or even up to 70% of it. What people living on $1-$5 per day can afford is also not a standard for what farmers in LDCs should be paid. 75% of the malnourished children in sub Saharan Africa come from farms (Interim Report on Millenium Goals) and 70% of LDC population is rural (UN-ESA) and 80% of malnourished are rural (“Livestock in the Balance,” p. 3), so farm prices don’t just affect a few of the world’s poor (you don’t make that clear here). We find then that it’s a dilemma, where we’ve lowered prices for nearly 60 years, fostering poverty, and they’re so poor they can’t even afford dumping price levels, and are hurt more under fair trade. (Note how I use low and medium standards, not relativism.) Obviously they need us to export farm products at a profit long term, AND, for the short term emergency, proper food aid money, to be paid to their farmers at fair trade price levels.

  3. Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff!

  4. Mich: OMG !!!! Now that is so scarey. I have not heard any of that. Not that I dont believe it, I just have not heard that. We need to get this out to the public. Has no one asked, Who wrote this bill? WOW we are like puppets.

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    The problem with management is that they can’t see the people thru the ties.

  7. Merci pour ce post, j’ai partagé sur mon site web.

  8. voip says:

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

  9. FREE says:

    “Ask it, Ask it do not get… Get it, get it don’t want.”

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  11. Cameron says:

    The path to hell is paved with good resolutions.

  12. Etre marin says:

    Félicitation pour cette actus ultra intéressante. J’aime lire sur votre blog.

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