A Good Read: LA Times Article on Farm Subsidies

On Monday, Obama announced his budget for 2012. I don’t have a deep understanding of our political system (does anybody really?) but Obama’s budget was of particular interest to the food/agriculture world.

Among other cuts, Obama proposed eliminating a chunk of agricultural subsidies. An article in yesterday’s LA Times has a good summation of the issues with cutting (or not cutting) these subsidies, including a brief mention of the $147 million the U.S. sends to Brazil to compensate for our (deemed-illegal by the WTO) cotton subsidies. (I included a link to the more thorough NPR story on this issue with Brazil, it’s incredibly interesting.) Author P.J. Huffstutter sums-up the subsidy issue nicely with this excerpt:

It’s a hot-button issue that draws uncomfortable political battle lines: Should lawmakers deeply cut farm subsidy programs that help ensure a steady domestic supply of food, but that critics say are rife with waste and largely benefit large agribusiness corporations?

Or should they cut back food assistance for the poor — cuts that could also hurt some small farmers and struggling segments of the agricultural community?


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