June 06, 2007

A Food And Farm Bill

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) talks to the blogs via TPMCafe about why agricultural policy is important and lays out his vision of what our current Farm Bill could be. His conclusions about the kind of policy we could have is a thing of beauty, so I yield the floor.

Food and Farm Bill of Rights:

  1. Americans have a right to a policy free of special interest giveaways: Current farm policy favors corporate special interests. Fully 70 percent of the payments go to the top 10 percent of farmers, and even more of that benefit is concentrated for the large processors. What’s more, aid is so concentrated in a few powerful states that the support received by most states is almost negligible. We deserve a food and farm policy that serves all Americans, not just the politically-connected.
  2. American taxpayers have a right to a fiscally responsible policy: Today’s Farm Bill contains some of the federal government’s largest programs. We deserve a food and farm policy that ensures our tax dollars are invested in fiscally sound policies and programs that fit in with the priorities of the American farmer and taxpayer.
  3. Americans have a right to a policy that serves all farmers: Our current farm policy ensures high profits for a few select commodities while neglecting the needs of many other valuable commodities and smaller producers. In fact, 60 percent of America ’s farmers and ranchers get no support whatsoever. We deserve a food and farm policy that supports producers and helps them access new local markets, thereby generating jobs by adding value to their products.
  4. Americans have a right to a safe and healthful food supply: Recent crises in food supplies (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita) and food safety (fresh spinach and tainted pet foods) are painful reminders of the vulnerability of our food supplies and distribution systems. We deserve a food and farm policy that guarantees a safe and healthful food supply in this country, in good times and in bad.
  5. American children have a right to good nutrition: Children who are hungry perform poorly in school and are at greater risk for long-term health problems. We deserve a food and farm policy that makes sure our children are well nourished by allowing more healthful choices and opening up access to fruits and vegetables.
  6. Americans have a right to local supplies of fresh food: Too many Americans do not have the option of buying affordable, locally-grown fresh food. We deserve a food and farm policy that includes programs that deliver healthy food to all communities, regardless of location, class, or economic standing.
  7. Americans have a right to a policy that promotes energy independence: The pursuit of heavily subsidized corn-based ethanol is a fool’s game fueled only by massive government subsidies and regulations not justified by the science or economics. We deserve a food and farm policy that enables our farmers and ranchers to produce vast quantities of renewable energy: wind, solar, in some cases small-scale hydro, geothermal and biomass.
  8. Americans have a right to a policy that protects the environment: Virtually every urban area is surrounded by productive farmland that also provides important environmental services – wildlife habitat, carbon sinks, clean water – as well as landscapes and vistas that define our sense of place. We deserve a food and farm policy that promotes good stewardship of the environment and our natural resources.
  9. Americans have a right to preserve farmland from sprawl: In many areas of the country the pressures of sprawl are forcing farmers off of their land. We deserve a food and farm policy that gives farmers the tools they need to protect their land – and our heritage – from development pressures.
  10. Americans have a right to a policy that fosters sustainable farming practices: The current farm policy offers conflicting messages about good farming practices, sometimes promoting sustainable practices while other times offering incentives that undermine the long-term health of our soil and water resources. We deserve a food and farm policy that enables farmers to be responsible with their land so that they can pass it on to the next generation.

(h/t McJoan @ DailyKos)

Posted by natasha at June 6, 2007 01:05 AM | Agriculture | Technorati links |
Comments


Great sentiments; but the unfortunate use of rights language makes every topic sentence false. I see none of these things in the Bill of Rights.

IMHO it would have been a far better document if every single occurrence of the term "have a right" were replaced with "deserve", or with "should demand".

The use of rights language for things that are not in fact rights cheapens the term, and dilutes its meaning.

Posted by: joel hanes at June 6, 2007 09:49 AM

Guiliani opts out of IOWA straw poll

Posted by: ccoaler at June 6, 2007 03:07 PM

http://ccoaler.blogspot.com/2007/06/sarkozy-en-allemagne.html

upcoming elections in france

Posted by: ccoaler at June 6, 2007 04:21 PM

The last peach farm near my mother's house in New Jersey is selling becasue the local supermarkets will not buy their peaches.

Posted by: Jim DeRosa at June 6, 2007 07:42 PM