avatar
Farm Bill: Turn Back? Take Back the Clock!


“These words may fall with an ominous sound on the ears of a generation schooled to look upon all changes as progressive, upon all mechanical inventions as desirable, upon all inhibitions and controls as frustrating; people who . . . regarded history and culture as a sort of assembly-line process, in which man himself could play no decisive part, except possibly to accelerate further the inevitable movement of impersonal forces.  Such people used to sum up that strange conviction by saying:  You cannot turn the hands of the clock backward.  But as a matter of demonstrable fact, that is neither practically nor metaphorically true.” 

Lewis Mumford3

“As we review some of the current agricultural policy discussion, we are reminded of the old riddle we first heard as a grade schooler. The question goes like this. “Would you rather have a clock that tells the right time twice a day or one that tells the right time once every four years?” As a child the obvious answer was the clock that told the right time most often, the one that was right twice a day. Then the riddler announces that the clock that is correct twice a day is one that does not run at all while a clock that loses a minute a day is correct once every four years.”

Daryll E. Ray,25

Introduction: 

The purpose of this blog is to highlight, expand, supplement, and footnote my rebuttal, to a front page article in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa,) on how the farm bill could revert to the 1949 law.(see colored link just below here)1  While I do not repeat the argument there, I provide some footnotes for it. Overall, there were too many flaws in the original article and arguments against it’s theses to fit into the 600 word limit, so I give some additional arguments here.

The original article is:  “Farm bill inaction could turn clock back to 1949,” by J. T. Rushing, 8/27/12, can be found online here (http://thegazette.com/2012/08/27/farm-bill-inaction-could-turn-clock-back-to-1949/).  It features quotes from Dale Moore, “a deputy executive director at the U.S. Farm Bureau … and a former chief of staff to four U.S. agriculture secretaries,” Iowa Senators and Ag Committee members, Tom Harkin, (Democrat,) and Charles Grassley (Republican,) and Iowa (Gazette region) Democratic Representatives Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack.

My rebuttal, (published guest opinion,) “Today’s farm program: welfare,” can be found online here (http://thegazette.com/2012/09/02/todays-farm-program-welfare/).  It is NOT reproduced in this blog. You must go to The Gazette to read it, and to understand this blog.  It is covers my most important point, is more concise, and has been professionally edited for publication.

“Turn back the Clock” Vs. “Take Back the Clock” Arguments.

The Gazette invited a title for my guest opinion, but rejected my suggestion: “Congress Should Take back the Farm bill Clock.” Their chosen title, “Today’s farm program: welfare,” emphasizes the negative side of my thesis and reinforces farmer bashing, (instead of my intention: to bash Farm Bureau and Congress,) not the positive side of my thesis, which supports farmers and emphasizes how I specifically rebut the basic “Turn back the Clock” argument of the original piece. That argument has been widely used to bash the farm justice or “family farm” movement over the years, in spite of the fact that the reverse has always been true.  Basically, the chosen headline obscures the fact that my guest opinion directly rebuts the major, front page, Gazette article from just one week earlier that essentially labeled the farm justice position, and those representing it, as backward, out-of-date, old fashioned.  And yes, I support this rebuttal with big, up-to-date, 21st-century facts, including 3 econometric studies.2

A subtitle to my article in the print edition, “Managed markets better balance supply and demand,” is not shown online.  It gives part of my positive thesis, but with no reference to my major theme, “take back the clock,” which rebuts the specific thesis of the previous article.  Here again, readers were not informed of the direct connection between my guest opinion and the previous article (both in the Sunday paper,) just one week earlier.

In general, I must credit Lewis Mumford for the basic idea, (but not the specific phrase,) undergirding my “take back the clock” rebuttal to “turn back the clock” arguments, as seen in various quotations below.3

Congressional Inaction: Two Categories of It

More generally, a major thesis of the original article was that Congressional inaction on the Senate and House farm bill proposals was a problem. I agree that that is true, and that the main blame for it falls on House Republicans.4  The Republican controlled House was late in passing a farm bill proposal, and it was a short, general draft, not a full proposal.  It was then followed with farm disaster legislation, at the last moment prior to leaving town for summer vacation.  The Republicans can then blame the Senate for not responding to their specific proposal, even though they first failed to respond to the actions of the Democratically controlled Senate, and then, given the summer recess, they left no reasonable amount of time for the Senate to act on their disaster plan.

I mentioned the connection between this general thesis of Republican or Congressional inaction and my “Take Back the Clock” argument, but did not develop it in the published guest opinion.  In fact, Farm Bureau executive Moore was quoted giving a warning to the Democrats about how these other kinds of farm programs, (running it like a business,) would place the Democratically-appointed Secretary of Agriculture in “‘a double-edged sword’” position of personal responsibility for farm program functioning, stating:  “He would be very powerful, but he would be completely responsible for not only setting production but also setting prices, so he’d not only have the farmers yelling at him but the consumers as well.”  Yes, but I argue that taking responsibility is good!  It’s called leadership. My argument, then was that being “market-based” has meant Congress/USDA ignoring the behavior of the market, and submitting to it mechanically (a clock not set by human criteria and values,), and then avoiding personal responsibility for making this choice, but rather blaming it all on the market.  This other kind of Congressional inaction is a much much bigger issue.  And by the way, though corporate interests favoring low farm prices and overproduction, all for their own self-centered corporate benefit, (ie. the input and output agribusiness-industrial-complexes,) proclaimed that the sky was falling, USDA, under Roosevelt and Truman, did an admirable job.

The Current Farm Bill Void

In general, I tried to convey my view that the original article was “much ado about nothing,” where the “nothing” on the biggest farm bill issue of market prices, (for farmers, consumers, [and, edited out by The Gazette, for Iowa, the US, the world’s hungry,) is found in the Senate and House farm bill proposals.  They offer zero market management, and are not really “market-based,” by any rational definition of the term, at all.  The spin by those quoted in the J.T. Rushing piece is exactly backwards from reality.  The farm bill sky has been falling, massively. It’s been destroying dairy farmers with two decades of below cost prices concentration,5 plus recently spiking grain prices, which raise feed costs and foster dairy concentration into CAFOs.

These two sides of farm bill failure (crop side/dairy/livestock side) show how, for example, Ethanol Fails as a Farm Bill Substitute.”6  It leaves out the needed balance between crops and livestock. The two sides are fools not to work together in a balanced way.  The drought, for example, reveals the foolishness of those livestock interests who previously opposed grain reserves.

Prior to the recent (2007-2012) higher prices we saw a quarter century (every year 1981-2006, except 1996, USDA-ERS)7 of below cost prices for grain farmers, and both the low (fostering CAFOs) and high (high feed costs) have hurt diversified livestock producers.  In response to that, there’s a huge void in both the Senate and House farm bill proposals.

This includes both Republicans and Democrats.  Democrat Bruce Braley, for example wins the “heat-not-light” prize with: “old-fashioned government controls and outdated limits.”

In contrast, led by Harkin, progressive Democrats strongly supported the kinds of proposals I recommend (ie. the Harkin-Gephardt Farm Bill) for the 1985, 1990, and 1996 farm bills.8  They strongly opposed President Reagan’s huge reduction in price floors and supply management, (subsidizing the “evil empire” with below cost grain,) and have now been proven to be correct by the historical record. They also rejected the elimination of these programs during the Republican “Contract for America” period, when “Freedom to Farm” was passed, which was followed by a number of the lowest price years in history (1997-2005) and four emergency farm bills prior to 2002.  This all changed when Harkin became Senate Ag Chair in 2002.  Apparently their concern (ie. Harkin, Gephardt, Daschle, Wellstone, etc.) was that Harkin sponsor something that actually passed while he was leader, so they switched over to a somewhat greened up version of “freedom to farm” welfarism, (as saved from total failure by increased subsidy payments in the four emergency farm bills).

Republican Grassley voted on both sides of this issue in 1985 (for Harkin-Gephardt and for the Reagan farm welfare bill that “pulled the rug out from under family farmers).9

Prior to the Harkin Gephardt era, during earlier decades, the Democratic approach of business-like market management, profit, and the absence of subsidies, characterized the Democratic farm bills of the New Deal.  Henry Wallace called it “A Balanced Agriculture.”10 In stark contrast to the fear mongering in the J.T. Rushing piece, the Wallace programs achieved parity for farmers and rural regions, and paid for themselves.  From 1936-1948 they netted more than $136 million per year into government (from interest on price floor loans).11 As the APAC studies show, Congress could dare to take back this “old-fashioned” responsibility, in spite of the 21st-century market-based mega-chicken-little’s zealous cries that the sky is falling.

In contrast to this long tradition of business-oriented Democratic farm bills and programs, both eastern Iowa Democratic Representatives trashed the former Democratic approach, siding closely with “freedom-to-farm” era Republicans on the worst approach to farm policy in the history of federal farm programs. I gave Braley the prize for this, above.  Loebsack was also quoted: “They will turn the clock back on Iowa farmers to the 1940s while they are currently suffering through the worst drought since the 1960s.”  Again, I agree with the smaller point about Congressional timing and disaster relief, (as explained and qualified in the article,) but I think I’ve thoroughly rebutted these Iowa Democrats on the bigger issue, and in doing so I’ve used longstanding arguments from Democratic party history.  In defending a Republican (neocon/neoliberal/free-trade/) free-market welfarism Commodity Title for the 2012 farm bill against the traditional Democratic “run-it-like-a-business-without-subsidies” approach, they illustrate the current failure of the Democratic Party on these, the biggest issues in the farm bill.   On these issues, the Democratic stance is worse than the formerly worst-farm-bills-in-history that Nixon and Reagan signed.

What if the 1949 Law Kicks In?

Grassley is surely correct that “One of two things are going to have to happen. Either we reach an agreement ... before Sept. 30 or we have a one-year extension....”  If the 1949 Commodity Title were to kick in, then the input, output and CAFO components of the agribusiness megamachine that rules Congress would have a mega-tissy fit.  That goes totally against the secret, hidden, off-books corporate welfare political reality inside the DC beltway.  Ag-Biz would be thinking of shutting off their mega-funding spigot into the Ag Committees!  In short, the 1949 issue is something in the farm bill that’s real, but that’s not realistically an alternative, but that is often used for major bluffing in the farm bill card game.  (But then, who wants to bet that Congress will behave rationally?!)

The 1949 farm bill would bring what I’ve called the “Hidden Farm Bill” back to life in an major way.12  The Hidden Farm Bill is market management, which fixed price inelasticity 1942-1952, and which, as price floors and supply management were reduced (1953-1995) and eliminated, (1996-2012) increasingly “subsidized” Ag Biz buyers (exporters; food and feed mills, ethanol and other processors; CAFOs,) with below-cost  and below-fair-trade ingredients, and increasingly penalized farmers by the same amounts.  Farm program market management in history, and it’s absence today, is usually not mentioned in farm bill discussions by mainstream media, farm and other conservatives, or among progressives including the food, church, hunger, sustainable agriculture and local farming sectors.13  For farm subsidies are almost always described as coming on top of given prices, with no sense of the context of massive farm market reductions below previous standards that are eight times larger than the subsidy compensations. Following that, then, corn, for example, is seen as “King,” and with Iowa is considered to be the biggest farm bill winner.  In fact, however, the data shows clearly that corn and Iowa are “farm bill” a paupers, the biggest farm bill losers.14

The original Gazette story gave some statistics for corn, oat, soybean and wheat prices as shown below.  I’ve added a third column to adjust the 1949 prices for inflation (2011 dollars, GDP deflator15). :

1949    2012 (recently)  1949 2011 $) 2012 (through 7/31, Linn Co-op)

Corn       $1.35   $8.08         $10.60       $6.34

Oats       $0.70   $3.91          $5.58       $

Soybeans   $2.00  $17.31         $15.60       $13.05

Wheat      $1.90   $8.88         $14.90       $

Here we see that, while the 1949 price, (adjusted for inflation,) would be higher than the recent Gazette price for corn, it would be lower for soybeans.  What farmers have actually received this year for corn and soybeans, however, is seen here as much lower than what The Gazette suggests as “2012 prices.”  I addressed farm prices issues in The Gazette in a letter-to-the-editor earlier this year, showing how it’s the price of The Gazette itself that is skyrocketing above the 1950s price of 10¢, not farm prices.16  I’ve since learned that the newspaper sold for 5¢ in 1944, which increases the magnitude of my argument there considerably.

The Gazette has not fixed these price issues in subsequent articles. In it’s defense, it purchases a number of syndicated articles, and I suspect that there are few pieces readily available that accurately describe farm prices.  Over the past 4 years and again recently, I’ve rebutted numerous articles online from various sources that refer to “record” high farm prices.17  The record highs (adjusted for inflation in 2011 dollars) are much higher than any recent prices, and are as follows:

Year      Record    Nominal   Other

Corn       1947      $17.80     $2.16

Oats       1890      $10.10     $0.42    $8.58/1947 ($1.04, 6th highest)

Soybeans   1947      $27.50     $3.33

Wheat      1867      $27.90     $2.01   $18.90/1947 ($2.29, 23rd highest)

The Gazette is a conservative Republican newspaper that is considered to be “liberal” by the right wing extremists who dominate much of political debate today. In spite of my many criticisms here, (and those of right-wing zealots,) I think The Gazette towers above Fox News on the question of trying to be “fair and balanced.”

We can think of “the farm bill tree”18 as follows: the trunk is market management, the Commodity Title, the “hidden” farm bill. The branches are the “Visible Farm Bill,” the visible “farm bill pie,” which is smaller.19  These are the other titles plus farm subsidy spending in the Commodity Title. They are mostly designed to fix what market management cannot, or, increasingly over the past 6 decades, does not fix.  In many cases (subsidies, conservation, credit, research, trade and food aid, local food and nutrition,) the failure of Congress to implement cost effective market management has meant that these other matters have gotten worse and worse, even with increased visible spending.  That’s because the massive impact of the hidden farm bill, of the markets as a whole, as managed or not by USDA (under the authority of Congress), often affects the biggest issues in these other titles more than all of the visible spending combined that goes to these titles.20

On the subject of visible farm bill spending, however, which includes many new programs not in the 1949 legislation, I agree with the original article that losing many of these smaller (visible spending) benefits must be avoided, especially in the case of SNAP, (food stamps, and here I strongly favor raising the minimum wage to living wage levels, to also massively reduce that budgetary need).  On the other hand, the market management approach, in eliminating the need for any Commodity Title subsidies, frees up the most money for the other titles, including SNAP, and also protects the poor with price ceilings and and reserve supplies.

What About the Impact on Consumers

That last point leads to another general issue. I also didn’t develop my rebuttal to the claims in the article about the impact of the 1949 law on consumers, another topic that is massively dominated by the myths of the “visible” fraction of the farm bill (spending), and not by the realities of the whole farm bill (hidden market management reductions + visible subsidies). The article expresses concern about “Mandatory higher prices for consumers for some products,” a point that’s repeated 5 more times, with reinforcement from an unnamed USDA official, Braley, Grassley, and Moore. They all side with consumers against Iowa/US/global farmers.  Nowhere is an adequate context provided for evaluating this claim. Nowhere in the original article is there an adequate standard provided for a fair price level for both crop farmers AND consumer-grocer-livestock-processor-exporter interests.

In fact, however, the “hidden” facts (the price reductions from the lowering and elimination of price floors,) abundantly prove, and as my analysis above shows, that farmers have been primarily subsidizing consumers, not the other way around.  This is the reality that The Gazette article, with Farm Bureau, Grassley, Braley mis-represent.  In fact, “higher” prices aren’t necessarily unfair.  It’s that basic question in my guest opinion about an appropriate standard by which the farm bill “clock” is built and set. Likewise, all of them being “in formation” like a flock of geese (or lemmings,) doesn’t help, as, as I’ve abundantly proven, that whole “formation” is way off “course,”  staying way too far “south” (below-cost farm prices 1981-2006,) and then skyrocketing way up toward the North Pole (1970s and recent spikes in farm prices, with no reserves now and no price ceilings).  The proposals I support, like the 1949 law, address both sides of this question, responsibly grabbing the bull (price and supply dilemma) by both horns.

All of this can especially seen in the ever lower farm share of the consumer food dollar, as farmers have gone out of business.  Today this is especially true of the dairy share, (as in my video, footnote 5). In the case of dairy, everyone quoted is siding with massive, devastating injustice. Dairy farmers are massively subsidizing consumers.  They have a reverse share of the food dollar, as crop farmers had 1981-2006.

My data here partly contradicts USDA.  That’s because USDA data includes the input share (Monsanto, John Deere, etc. who sell to farmers) in the farm share.  University of Maine Agricultural Economist Stewart Smith separated out the farm share from the input share for the years 1910 to 1997,21 which is more complete, and more fair to farmers, so that’s what I use.  I show some of that data in my YouTube video, “The Dairy Crisis and the Farm Bill.”5

I’ve also projected that data forward through 2006.22  Note here that the extra years I add to the projection, 1998-2005 saw the lowest farm commodity prices in history, (and were all below full costs for a sum of 8 commodities).7  What I find is that, from 1950 to 2006, the combined market/input (agribusiness input/output complex) shares grew 90%, while the true farm share dropped to just 29% of it’s 1950 share.  Meanwhile consumers paid 51% more overall.  Clearly, the consumers’ problem isn’t to be found in the farm share!  Clearly farmers deserve a greater share of the food dollar.  Farmers shouldn’t be subsidizing consumers. East Iowa Congressmen and others need to lead on this issue, as statesmen representing their rural districts. The data does not at all support the fairness of the consumer claims made 6 times in the article.  The sky dies not fall on consumers in the proposals I’m recommending.  Yea, and then don’t forget that it’s “farm justice” family farmers who alone are leading the call for specific proposals for price ceilings and reserve supplies to protect consumers, as in the 1949 legislation.  Finally, consider that Stewart Smith’s original data (1910-1997) projects to a ZERO farm share by 2020.21

Savage Dilemmas:  The US Food Crisis and the Global Food Poverty Crisis

In closing, I must reinforce that all of this radically challenges the “corn subsidy”23 and “Big Ag subsidies”24 paradigm of the US food movement.  In (unknowingly) not supporting market management (“Farm Justice Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill,”) the food movement (unknowingly) sides massively with the agribusiness-input/output/CAFO-complex against farmer-victims. In favoring mere subsidy reforms, (ie. with zero price floors, zero price ceilings, zero supply reductions as needed, zero reserve supplies,) the food movement sides with agribusiness against their own core values and intentions.  Stop it now!   Ditto for farm commodity groups that claim to support farmer interests!  Likewise, with no specific mention of these key farm justice proposals when, for example, “reserves’ are mentioned, or the “principle” of “fair prices,” gets mentioned, food movement leaders (#FoodLeaders at Twitter,) are massively failing. These leaders need to find the courage to engage in dialogue with me. Your followers can never break out of the false paradigm you’ve created, (out of ignorance of the history of farm justice,) via such vague, soft advocacy.  Those terms will get massively misinterpreted under such weak advocacy.  Your followers will interpret them as support for your false “corn subsidy,” “Big Ag” paradigm, and NOT as a reversal of the movement, to now directly oppose MEGA Ag Biz, with the farm justice movement that fought on these issues for a half century before you arrived on the scene.  Below the surface, secretly, the values of farmers, and the food movement and the sustainable agriculture movement are hugely complementary.  The farm justice movement holds the key for bringing us all together on the biggest farm bill issue.  Hey, we’re all against cheap corn, aren’t we.

Secondly, I must reinforce the implications of all of this on the global “food poverty crisis.” That’s my term. The “undernourished” are 80% rural, in need of fair farm prices for their farm economies, in order to get out of poverty and be able to easily afford the food that is widely available. Unfortunately, the choice of the US Congress to have our country lose money on exports for decades (in order to secretly subsidize Ag Biz buyers) has devastated the global poor.  In directing USDA to reduce and eliminate price floors and supply management, even though we’ve had a much bigger market share than OPEC in oil, has so massively hurt wealth and jobs creation in LDCs (Least Developed Countries, 70% rural) that it’s created the dilemma where they now can’t afford the fair trade prices that they so desperately need.  A few years ago export dumping was being discussed. Over the past five years, as farm prices have risen way above the previous prices (the lowest 6 prices in history, 1997-2006, for major commodities,) that poverty-causing side of the issue, has largely been forgotton.  Those decades of chronic food poverty crisis have somehow been transformed into “the boom years.” In fact, however, we already tried export dumping. It’s the fundamental underlying cause, not the solution, to the global food poverty crisis. We must not be fooled by propaganda from the agribusiness-output-complex. We don’t need overproduction to save the world from what are really fair trade prices.  We need balanced fair-trade prices, long-term, to save the world’s “undernourished” rural people from farm poverty, a huge underlying cause of their food poverty.

Footnotes 

1. For further reading on this topic see, Brad Wilson, “The Myth of the Temporary Farm Bill: Thoughts on the Permanent Farm Bill,” zspace, 10/28/10, http://www.zcommunications.org/the-myth-of-the-temporary-farm-bill-thoughts-on-the-permanent-farm-bill-by-brad-wilson.

2. my farm justice jprimer

3. Quote at the top is from Lewis Mumford, In the Name of Sanity, New York:  Harcourt, Brace, 1954, pp. 113-114.  Cf. Mumford et al, Arts in Renewal, Books for Libraries Press, Freeport: N.Y.: 1951.  Cf. the following quotes and sources:

“The clock, not the steam-engine, is the key machine of the modern industrial age.  For every phase of its development the clock is both the outstanding fact and the typical symbol of the machine:  even today no other machine is so ubiquitous.”

Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1934, p. 14.

“Our present civilization is a gigantic motor car moving along a one-way road at an ever accelerating speed.  Unfortunately as now constructed the car lacks both steering wheel and brakes, and the only form of control the driver exercises consists in making the car go faster, through .  .  . “

Lewis Mumford, The City in History, New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964, p. 559.

“Take a clock that has ‘fallen from the sky.’. . . And let us suppose that the history of time-keeping and the function of a clock are . . . completely unknown. . . . Let this strange instrument be passed around a group of diverse specialists, with each one extracting a single part. . . .  Then let each part be accurately measured, photographed, and analyzed by qualified physicists, chemists, metallurgists, mechanics. . . .   When their reports are assembled, every part . . . will be accurately known in ‘objective’ reductionist terms. . . .  But meanwhile the clock itself has disappeared. . . .  Though conceivably a re-assemblage of the parts might be achieved . . . without a subjective knowledge of its ultimate purpose--time telling--the dead mechanism would remain mysterious, and its purpose baffling.”

Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: vol. II: The Pentagon of Power, New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich,1970, pp. 88-89.

“. . . The Invention of the mechanical clock in the fourteenth century did far more to advance modern science and technics than the steam engine or the automatic loom.  For the clock, on its very face, unified our whole conception of time, space, and motion, and laid the foundation in its exact measurements by standard units for the astronomical-mechanical world picture that still dominates our minds and our daily activities.”

Lewis Mumford,  My Works and Days, New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1979, p. 468.

4. See analysis of these (and other drought related views,) by the National Family Farm Coalition, at the top of the list, “2012 Farm Bill News and Updates,” here: http://www.nffc.net/.

5. FireweedFarm, “The Dairy Crisis & the 2012 Farm Bill,” A Regeneration of Culture channel, YouTube, 8/24/12, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2UZg0GzOcI&list=PLA1E706EFA90D1767&index=1&feature=plpp_video

6 Brad Wilson, “Biofuels Fail as a Farm Bill Substitute,”

7.  USDA, Economic Research Service, “Commodity Costs and Returns,” (various spreadsheets,) http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/commodity-costs-and-returns.aspx.

8. Brad Wilson, Subsidies vs Price Floors in Farm Bill History, La Vida Locavore,

1/2/10,

9. But see my rebuttal to Grassley’s cameo on the DVD of the food film, King Corn, against bottom-side supply management, here: http://www.lavidalocavore.org/diary/3018/subsidies-vs-price-floors-in-farm-bill-history.

10. Henry Wallace, Achieving a Balanced Agriculture: How the National Farm Program Meets the Changing Problem, USDA, Division of Special Reports, Office of Information, 1934, 1940.  Note: this source rebuts widespread myths about Wallace in mainstream media, the food movement, and among many other groups (hunger, church, conservative, etc.).  See footnote 1 for several examples on this topic, or, online search “Brad Wilson” + “Henry Wallace”.

11. Brad Wilson, “When Farm Bills Made a Profit!” (2 data charts), http://www.zcommunications.org/albums/288

12. Brad Wilson, “The Hidden Farm Bill: Secret Trillions for Agribusiness,” zspace, 7/16/12, http://www.zcommunications.org/the-hidden-farm-bill-secret-trillions-for-agribusiness-by-brad-wilson.

13 On the missing farm bill history see Brad Wilson, “Missing Food Movement History: Highlights of Family Farm Justice: 1950-2000, La Vida Locavore, 2/26/12, http://www.lavidalocavore.org/diary/5106/missing-food-movement-history-highlights-of-family-farm-justice-19502000.  On mainstream media views see, for example, various sources collected here: Environmental Working Group, News Coverage, “2007 Farm Bill Editorials,”

1/28/08, http://www.ewg.org/farmeditorialsall.  Cf. my many blogs, linked top center at my zspace home page, http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/bradwilson.  Or google “Brad Wilson” + “price floor” (or + “food movement, etc. to see examples of these misunderstandings)

14. Brad Wilson, “Corn is the Biggest Farm Bill Loser, and Other Surprises,” La Vida Locavore, 8/21/12, http://www.lavidalocavore.org/diary/5209/corn-is-the-biggest-farm-bill-loser-and-other-surprises.

15. See MeasuringWorth.com, “Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to Present,” for example the corn/bushel [or oil/abarrel], price in 1947, here: http://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/uscompare/result.php?use%5B%5D=DOLLAR&use%5B%5D=GDPDEFLATION&use%5B%5D=VCB&use%5B%5D=UNSKILLED&use%5B%5D=MANCOMP&use%5B%5D=NOMGDPCP&use%5B%5D=NOMINALGDP&year_source=1947&amount=2.16&year_result=2009.  Click “Another Computation” for other figures.

16. Brad Wilson, “Price of corn not really a record,” letter-to-the-editor, The Gazette, 3/9/11, http://thegazette.com/2011/03/09/price-of-corn-not-really-a-record/

17 Online search “Brad Wilson” + “food price index”

18 Scott Marlow developed the original idea, (which I have rejected and revised, above,) here as pdf file:  “The Farm Bill Tree: Understanding the Logic of the Farm Bill,” RAFI-USA, 4/17/07, http://rafiusa.org/docs/Farm%20Bill%20Tree.pdf.

19. Brad Wilson, “Hidden Farm Bill Pie,” zspace, http://www.zcommunications.org/albums/289.

20 Brad Wilson, “Balance Budget, Win Across the Board with NFFC Farm Bill,” zspace, http://www.zcommunications.org/balance-budget-win-across-the-board-with-nffc-farm-bill-by-brad-wilson

21 Stewart Smith, “Sustainable Agriculture and Public Policy,” Maine Policy Review (1993), Vol. 2, No. 1, (pdf,) http://mcspolicycenter.umaine.edu/files/pdf_mpr/SmithS_V2N1.pdf.

22. Brad Wilson,”Farm Bill Slides,” slide 6, zspace, http://www.zcommunications.org/albums/276.

23 See Brad Wilson, “Michael Pollan Rebuttal,” zspace, http://www.zcommunications.org/michael-pollan-rebuttal-four-proofs-against-pollans-corn-subsidy-argument-by-brad-wilson, which then links to the YouTube videos by the same name, Part 1 and Part 2.

24 See for example, a major food movement farm bill sign-on, here: “Food and Health Luminaries Demand Healthy Food and Farm Bill,” Civil Eats, http://civileats.com/2012/06/05/food-and-health-luminaries-demand-healthy-food-and-farm-bill/, also here   “Experts Tell Congress: Support Healthy Food System, Not Big Ag,” Common Dreams, 6/5/12, http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/05-6. See the data that rebuts that idea here:  Brad Wilson, “Subsidy Caps? Ag biz vs ‘Big Ag,’” zspace, (15 data slides).

25, Daryll E. Ray, “Policy premise correct three times a century,” Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, University of Tennessee, 9/23/05, column #268, http://www.agpolicy.org/weekcol/268.html.

26  Sustainable Agriculture and the Future of the Family Farm:  I didn’t get this covered here, but see my online comment to my guest opinion.

Leave a comment