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Farm Bill

See also: What's Wrong with the Farm Bill Now

The new, 2012 Farm Bill can provide greater benefits to more people:

Ermergency food aid - The requirement for food aid to be produced in the US and shipped to the recipient country should be ended. We should allow food to be purchased near the destination, so more aid money is used towards actual food (instead of transportation) This would also support local markets that are vital for economic recovery after a natural disaster or other emergency situation.

Building local agriculture - After emergency food aid is provided, additional aid can help build local agricultural capacity, increasing productivity and food security. This can include training, access to technology and improved infrastructure. The international World Bank should also be included in this strategy.

Food security - Developing countries should be encouraged to maintain an agricultural industry that provides food security. Subsidies and import tariffs should be allowed to ensure the long term viability of domestic food supplies.

AgrI-business - Subsidies should be restructured to support small US farmers instead of large corporate farms.

Economic efficiency - Subsidies to American agriculture can be gradually reduced to decrease the burden on US taxpayers and improve the competitiveness of other US industries. The current budget crisis is another reasons to reduce subsidies that add to the US’s government debt.

Free trade - The US should adopt free and equitable trade policies that promote the use of the most efficient resources without the market and prices distortion of subsidies.

Low food prices - While US agricultural subsidies continue, developing countries should be allowed to impose tariffs or subsidies that encourage the growth of their domestic agriculture.

High food prices - Development assistance should be provided to farmers in developing countries to allow them to participate in global trade and benefit from higher food prices. American policies can funnel aid through the Farm Bill or other programs to provide to increase access to credit, markets and technology while improving infrastructure, distribution, and storage systems. Complementary targeted programs, such as cash transfers, could be used to temporarily alleviate the impact on the urban poor.

Eliminating biofuel subsidies and other trade barriers will allow farmers in developing countries to participate in this growing industry. Corn is a very inefficient fuel. It should not be subsidized as an industrial energy source.

What you can do
We will continue to feature other farm bill issues in our Actions of the Month. Here's how you can take action now: Send a Letter to Congress  |  Spread the word!


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See also: What's Wrong with the Farm Bill Now

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by Alicia Farag, Hearts & Minds volunteer
Copyrights: Entire website 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc., This web page - http://www.heartsandminds.org/poverty/articles/farmgood.htm online December 23, 2011, latest changes December 23, 2011


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