Food Engineering

Farm Bill under fire

September 3, 2007


After months of movement through Congress in relative obscurity, the Farm Bill is igniting controversy. Everyone, it seems, is finding something in it not to like. For starters, the House version of the bill continues a number of agricultural subsidies for US producers. Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, says the bill will become a “missed opportunity” if it fails to take a hard look at these long-existing subsidies, many of them established in the Great Depression. After the House Agriculture Committee approved the bill in late July, Dooley characterized the measure as a failure, at least when it comes to reform.

 “The bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee would actually increase food and commodity price distortions, does nothing to reduce farm subsidies and has the potential to actually increase government payments to wealthy farmers,” Dooley said.

 Domestic food producers and manufacturers are also displeased with an aid provision contained in one version of the bill. Instead of purchasing domestically produced food products and shipping the aid to countries in need, the US would purchase food products in the country, or region, where the recipients live.