Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation that will soon be up for congressional review, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.
The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.
In 2007, Congress did make some modest changes to the Farm Bill’s subsidy programs.
But PCRM will need your help again to encourage the federal government to cut subsidies for unhealthy foods and increase support for fruits, vegetables, and vegetarian foods.