Nevermind the whining about food stamps paying for Pepsi, this is a much larger amount of money with wider ranging health impact.
A consumer report released Wednesday revealed the majority of federal taxpayer-funded farm subsidies are being funneled toward crops used to make junk food and food additives, such as high fructose corn syrup.
Ron Cornelson, of Cornelson Farms, makes the trek from Fresno County to the Santa Monica Farmers Market every Wednesday to sell the fruits from his 10-acre farm.
"I’ve never seen a subsidy. I’ve tried and, as far I know, it all goes to the big guys and other commodities," Cornelson said.
Nearly all California farmers – 91 percent, according to CALPIRG field director Anne Ohliger – don’t receive federal food subsidies.
The report, Apples to Twinkies 2012, found that three-quarters of all agricultural subsidies go to commodity crops – such as corn – and support four major junk-food additives, Ohliger said. Those additives are high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils.
From 1995 to 2011, $18.2 billion went to subsidies for junk food additives -- compared to $637 million for apples, the only significant federal subsidy for fresh fruit and vegetables, according to CALPIRG.
That $18.2 billion figure is enough to buy each taxpayer 21 Twinkies every year. But the $637 million in subsidies for apples would buy each taxpayer just half of one apple annually.
The statewide consumer group says this discrepancy in funding exacerbates an obesity rate that has tripled over the last three decades, which in turn leads to rising medical costs.
"Congress is looking at the farm bill as we speak, and they have the opportunity to cut this kind of wasteful spending," Ohliger said.
Local farmers contend that government money should support small businesses.
"The subsidies would help me do things that I need to do that I can’t do now," Cornelson said.
His attempts to save money a few years ago by installing a more economical irrigation system cost him thousands of dollars after being denied a subsidy.
Subsidies should not be expanded - we're spending enough as it is, but should they be distributed with preference to actual small farmers making food over commercial farms grinding out corn?Answer Question
Answer by adnilm at 5:32 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 118778 Level 40 Politics & Current Events Degree
Answer by Anonymous at 5:38 PM on Jul. 30, 2012
I can't figure it out. We have land around here where corn is being grown (or was being grown). It got mature and was looking pretty good, but was never harvested. I went away for 3 1/2 weeks and came home, only to find that those parcels that had corn now had yellow, dried stalks with equally dried out ears of corn on them. I don't understand at all why it wasn't harvested.
Answer by QuinnMae at 6:41 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 235931 Level 46 Politics & Current Events Degree
Answer by staciandababy at 6:56 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 69753 Level 34 Politics & Current Events Minor
Answer by katiemomNY at 7:36 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 24419 Level 25 Politics & Current Events Minor
Terrible, just terrible.
Answer by Sisteract at 8:01 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 80080 Level 36 Politics & Current Events Degree
Answer by okmanders at 11:27 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 136056 Level 41 Politics & Current Events Degree
Answer by Dardenella at 11:35 PM on Jul. 30, 2012Credits: 199567 Level 45 Politics & Current Events Degree
Answer by Anonymous at 12:27 AM on Jul. 31, 2012
Answer by But_Mommie at 9:09 AM on Jul. 31, 2012Credits: 169685 Level 43 Politics & Current Events Minor
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