Posts Tagged ‘commodity farming’

Minnesota Farmer Explains the USDA’s Commodity Farming Bias

Jack Hedin, a farmer from Rushford, MN, explains how the USDA is prohibiting the local food movement from expanding and favoring commodity farming.

The commodity farm program effectively forbids farmers who usually grow corn or the other four federally subsidized commodity crops (soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton) from trying fruit and vegetables. Because my watermelons and tomatoes had been planted on “corn base” acres, the Farm Service said, my landlords were out of compliance with the commodity program.

I’ve discovered that typically, a farmer who grows the forbidden fruits and vegetables on corn acreage not only has to give up his subsidy for the year on that acreage, he is also penalized the market value of the illicit crop, and runs the risk that those acres will be permanently ineligible for any subsidies in the future. (The penalties apply only to fruits and vegetables — if the farmer decides to grow another commodity crop, or even nothing at all, there’s no problem.)

Fantastic summary of the legislative barriers. The localvore/slow food movement is growing, but this is a very real problem. As much as you may want to buy from a CSA farm or the co-op, not everyone can afford to pay that much extra.

(via Hannah)

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