Oh, Farm Bill, where did you go so wrong?

FERN partnered with Mother Jones on this reeeeally good look at five historical turning points when the US Farm Bill became the largely irrational juggernaut that it is today. It’s worth reading the whole thing but here’s the bullet-point version:

  • racist priorities in the original 1933 legislation that favored white southern plantations over smaller-scale Black farms
  • a permanent shift away from any attempt to maintain price floors or production controls in the 1950s and 60s (the 1963 “wheat referendum” was the death knell)
  • forms of subsidy that have strongly favored big commodity-producing farms since the 1970s
  • the emergence of what author Claire Kelloway (or her editor) calls “the crop insurance beast” in the 1990s, which pays out whether the farming being done makes any economic or ecological sense or not, and
  • the 2014 “Secret Farm Bill” that cut conservation spending even as the effects of climate change on agriculture became inescapably clear.


5 months ago

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