Public supports 'consumer agenda' in farm policy

A new survey of public opinion released today by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows strong support for ‘consumer agenda’ in EU and US agriculture policies focused on food safety, the environment and the food supply. There was significantly less support for producer-oriented priorities like providing emergency financial relief to farmers, insuring farmers against unpredictable market conditions and preserving small family farms.… Read the rest

How not to reform farm subsidies (American style)

On the other side of the Atlantic the five-yearly federal farm bill debate is reaching its climax. A bill approved unanimously by the powerful House agriculture committee has been roundly attacked by reformers who wanted to see less in the way of multi-million dollar payouts to large agribusinesses and more resources for conservation programmes and economic development assistance for rural areas.… Read the rest

A food fight over the farm bill

As the European Union gears up for the CAP Health Check in 2008, the United States is already deep in debate over the Farm Bill, which is due for renewal this year. Just as the CAP sets Europe’s farm policies, the Farm Bill (each one lasting for 5 years) defines agriculture policy for the US. And just like the CAP, the Farm Bill is hostage to the narrow producer interests that benefit directly from the policy: big, industrial agribusiness and farmers who monoculture the five big subsidized crops: corn, soya beans, wheat, rice and sugar. ‘Outsiders’ such as consumers, taxpayers, conservationists and those speaking up for farmers in poor developing countries rarely get much of a look in.… Read the rest