Editorial: Farm bill bulges in wrong places

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  • Updated: July 4, 2012 - 4:46 PM

Is there a link between U.S. food policy and obesity?

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mankato58Jul. 4, 12 5:36 PM

There is nothing in the farm bill that tells us what to eat, how much to eat, or how to prepare it. There is no shortage of any food in this nation, and that is directly related to how the American Farmer has operated their farms, with and without assistance from farm bills, over the centuries since coming to this land. The farm bill has nothing to do with obesity. Schools have quit teaching classes like home ec. and health, true conditioning phy. ed. classes are a thing of the past in most schools, extension is an endangered species in most parts of the country, and even where there is a stable family structure most parents are not prepared to pass on good living skills.

fonzi3Jul. 4, 12 6:07 PM

The crop insurance program will benfit the largest farmers the most. - which sounds like GOP/Romney-style economics at work. Trickle-down economics is a farce, and Reagan's own economic advisor admits it.

eddie55431Jul. 4, 12 7:04 PM

The food stamp program (SNAP) could stand a lot more cutting than the 5% the dropped. Our subsidy dollars should be restricted to the purchase of the healthy necessities of life. As long as the program allows the purchase of soda, snacks, cigarettes and even lottery tickets with the debit card the program is being wasted. Using debit cards to avoid embarrassment at the checkout counter has made taking charity painless, even mainstream. Whatever happened to being ashamed that you had to take a handout because you weren't being productive enough to support your own family? Some might consider my words cruel, but it should not be easy to get public benefits, and they should be used properly at a minimal level to help people who are down on their luck get back on their feet, not as a lifelong retirement program. There was a story just last week about a store clerk who was fired because she refused to allow a customer to use a benefits card to buy cigarettes. She shouldn't have been fired, she should be given a bonus and be sent to Washington!

sarahanneJul. 4, 12 7:17 PM

Welfare for millionaires is OK but not for people at poverty line. If Congress is sincere about reducing the deficit this bill would have been the best place to start. The flood insurance program is what the farm aid bill should be. Farmers get paid when crops fail because of a natural disaster and be not be an automatic payment.

falngfrmgracJul. 4, 12 8:07 PM

eddie55431: your clueless. those EBT cards hold cash and FS. The registers of today will not let a person use FS for anything else but food. Get your facts before opening your mouth

tjpete123Jul. 4, 12 8:45 PM

I have several thoughts: 1. The American farmer is extremely efficient at growing corn and soybean. Corn is a feed for animals which is a source of protein in our diets. Corn also is a food that unfortunately is processed into high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to high-calorie sports drinks and sodas. 2. The farm bill provides assistance to farmers that are affected by natural disasters such as hail, flooding from excess rains and drought. Yes, there was a time when the farm bill provided subsidies for low prices, which is not the case today 3. Unfortunately, the farm bill favors corn, soybean and wheat vs. vegetable crops which are considered specialty crops. Congress needs to place more emphasis on specialty crops such as vegetables in the future. 4. Like it our not, fruits and vegetables are more expensive to produce and purchase at the grocery as compared to beef or pork. And unfortunately, people that live on a limited budget often choose between inexpensive unhealthy food versus healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, which are more expensive.

erikj3Jul. 4, 12 8:48 PM

Why are we getting fatter? Check out a food court at the mall. Or what foods are often on sale at Walmart. Or the average escalator (I've seen someone walk up or down one, perhaps a handful of times). We drive to work, where we sit all day, then we drive home and sit in front of the TV all evening. The foods we eat (highly processed and devoid of nutrients) mess with our systems and function almost like drugs, causing us to become addicted to junk (which is cheap because it's subsidized by the government, ie, US!!). This isn't going to change anytime soon, I fear.

mankato58Jul. 4, 12 9:23 PM

erikj3Jul. 4, 12 8:48 PM _________erikj3, I was (am) right along with you until you claim the junk food is "subsidized by the government." The government has done very little to subsidize crops over the last 15 years, because the free market being driven by exports have held prices far above the poverty level of the guarantees. Also, farmers are growing more vegetables (I am not familiar with the fruit markets at this time) than the market can take. Every year farmers destroy unharvested corn, beans and peas in this state because our canners are over production capabilities. Soybeans, oats, wheat, and #2 corn are the corps our area farmers grow in surplus, and they contribute to a healthy diet. The issue is that our families chose not to utilize these products. Between our schools not reinforcing food preparation and storage, and our families reluctance to take advantage of Extension, I firmly believe you could put an average American family on a piece of property with a cow, a pig, some chickens, and a granary full of wheat, oats and corn, and we could watch them starve to death. We do not have a food or nutrition problem in this nation. We have a knowledge and common sense problem. We are teaching students how to do algebra before they can add and subtract, and we have youth that can program computers, but we are not teaching anybody how to feed themselves or their families.

mankato58Jul. 4, 12 9:44 PM

This hasn't been brought up yet, but it will be, so I will break the ice: Ethanol production and its affect on food prices. If you go to the USDA Farm Services records you will see that the increase in farm yields per acre over the last two decades have been more than sufficient to cover usage by ethanol even if you figure that there was no food value left. Our issue with demand that has driven more acres and higher prices is increased exports - All those products you purchase from Asian countries gives them money to purchase our corn to feed livestock over their. When it comes to ethanol we as a nation need to learn how to utilize the byproduct - Distillers Dried Grains (DDG). DDG has a concentrated nutritional value that we should be happy for. Comparing corn (c) to DDG (d) these are the three major items as published by Ohio State University using over a decade of research data: Protein c 6.4% vs. d 30.2%; Fat c 7.8% vs. d 10.9%; and fiber c 14.3% vs. d 42.1%. The only nutritional item lost in ethanol production is starch. By using DDG in food production you need far less product to get the same energy level for human needs. Former Minnesota Secretary of Agriculture Jim Nichols has published much research on refining our grains to maximize value. He has shown how we are harming ourselves and others by not refining our grains to best utilize each part to its fullest. Read some of Secretary Nichols' works and follow both the research he used and what has been done since. It is eye opening!

nonewtaxesJul. 5, 12 5:01 AM

We don't need ANY farm subsidies. Children would gain a lifetime benefit from more education on healthful eating habits. Every child entering first grade should be given a bathroom scale and a door mirror, so they can see how their eating is affecting their health. We have had great success teaching kids not to smoke. We can also teach them how to eat. This will lower the nations health cost as well.


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