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The 2012 Farm Bill

(article, Culinate staff)

Yes, the Farm Bill only comes around once every five years. And yes, this year it's taken longer than usual to get the food-politics show on the road. This week, however, the Senate has gotten a new Farm Bill moving, and may vote on it very soon.

Plenty of food-politics folks have weighed in recently on the latest Farm Bill, including Marion Nestle (giving her version of an ideal Farm Bill in Dissent magazine) and Daniel Imhoff (pointing out four ways the Farm Bill contradicts itself on Civil Eats). Critics have noted that the proposed bill would gut the food-stamp program and bolster a risky crop-insurance program. And, as Robert B. Semple, Jr. noted in a New York Times op-ed, the new Farm Bill isn't really new at all:

bq. Every five years or so, Congress promises a new, improved farm bill that will end unnecessary subsidies to big farmers, enhance the environment and actually do something to help small farmers and small towns. But what it usually does is find ways of disguising the old inequities, sending taxpayers dollars to wealthy farmers, accelerating the expansion of industrial farming, inflating land prices and further depopulating rural America. 

Tom Philpott, incidentally, made the same argument on Mother Jones. 

Grumpy about the situation? The Environmental Working Group and CREDO Action would love you to share your opinion. And on Grist, Twilight Greenaway has more suggestions for making your voice heard.