Dear (your elected representatives),
If the 2012 Farm Bill is like the old one, it will hurt millions of Americans. It will also lead to the deaths of millions of the world’s poorest people.
Past farm bills cost taxpayers billions of dollars, subsidize the least healthy food, and drive millions of the world’s poorest people into extreme poverty.
The first farm bill, passed during the Great Depression, had the noble goal of helping struggling American farmers. Since then, special interest groups have diverted billions of dollars for their profit, at the public’s expense.
The farm bill and global
Subsidies do little for 90 percent of America’s farmers. Two-thirds of the money goes to the richest 10 percent of farmers. Farmers who need the most help get the least. This is why millions of American farmers are still struggling to stay in business.
Almost all subsidies support commodity crops like corn, cotton and soybeans. This only enriches a few powerful agricultural corporations. Cheap products like high fructose corn syrup are making Americans fatter and far less healthy. A better farm bill will encourage the production and purchase of more fruits and vegetables.
Environmentalists support farm bill reform, as well. Reform would prevent the overuse of polluting fertilizers and pesticides.
This current bill also makes it possible for American farmers to sell their crops overseas for significantly less than it costs to grow them. Impoverished famers around the world are forced off the land. They are left to migrate to larger, overcrowded cities - or to the United States. This leads to political unrest and even terrorism. Shipping our corn to places that could grow their own also adds to greenhouse gas pollution, contributing to disastrous climate change.
Conclusion: We need change
by Jen Picariello, Hearts & Minds volunteer