At the very root of questions like “Why does salad cost more than a cheeseburger?” or “Why are cashews more expensive than steak?” lays the farm bill. This single piece of legislation has more control over what we eat and who profits from it than any other combination of legislature.
What is the farm bill?
Every five years or so comes new and “improved” federal laws that govern programs centered on food and agricultural in the US. At this time, it is generally decided where billions of dollars in subsidies will go.
What’s the problem?
The problem is that most of these billions of dollars go to the same handful of agribusinesses. And the distribution is far from representative of federal nutrition regulations.
“The farm bill doles out billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to the largest five commodity crops: corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans. Those payments go out, regardless of need, and they mostly fail to help the nation’s real working farm and ranch families. In fact, since 1995, just 10 percent of subsidized farms – the largest and wealthiest operations – have raked in 74 percent of all subsidy payments. 62 percent of farms in the United States did not collect subsidy payments…” –Top 10 Things You Should Know About The Farm Bill – Sara Sciammacco
Sadly, much of the food subsidies paid for out of our own pockets goes to animal feed. Instead of putting the money towards what the federal government rightfully recommends we eat, we’re feeding it to the cows that we are correctly suggested to eat less of. It seems obvious that the government would have plenty of reason to subsidize the foods it openly recommends, but such government agendas are rarely what one would consider logical.
PCRM (Includes an awesome image… Really makes you think)