Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I am thankful this year

Here is some good news for you: our President-elect reads. And it is a possibility that he reads this very blog. In a recent interview with Time Magazine reporter Joe Klein, Barack Obama mentions having read Michael Pollan's letter to the next Farmer-in-chief in the New York Times Magazine. How did Obama find out about the article? Surely, he has been reading Fair Ground posts.

And not only that, an ABC News article released today about Barack Obama's new White House Budget director, Peter Orszag, contains this quote from the President-elect:

"There's a report today that from 2003 to 2006, millionaire farmers received $49 million in crop subsidies, even though they were earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff to qualify for such subsidies. If this is true, it is a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as president."
It seems that Barack Obama has also been studying up on U.S. Farm Policy. It is true that since World War II, subsidies for farmers have focused on commodity farmers; those who raise vast quantities of corn, wheat, and soy, for example. A myopic intensity of increasing productivity while making food as cheap as possible has lead to the predominance of monoculture (one crop) industrial agriculture. Over the years, fewer and fewer farmers have grown more and more of one thing, with those singular crops traded on global markets, throw in big subsidies, and that's how you get millionaire farmers. Not very many of them, of course.

So thanks, President-elect Obama, for your recent reads. While I've got your attention, sir, I would direct you and our other Fair Ground readers to the USDA's article U.S. Farm Policy: The First 200 Years (pdf, 83 KB). I hope everyone enjoys the fruits of their harvest this Thanksgiving!

-Guest post by Kate Pattison, Toxic Free NC volunteer

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