I’ve started a petition at Change.org. It’s addressed to Michael Pollan. I’m calling for him to lead the food movement in reversing it’s federal Farm Bill (Commodity Title) focus. The petition can be found here,
I agree with Pollan and the food movement about the problems caused by cheap corn and other commodities. Our farm export dumping destroys the economies of Least Developed Countries, (who are, on average 70% rural,) causing poverty and hunger. You can see, then, in my “Farm Bill Primer” and “Food Crisis Primer,” that La Via Campesina and the Africa Group at WTO are calling for effective policy changes to address the problem. You can see there and in my blog that Europe once supported these changes also. None of us benefit by losing money on farm exports.
Cheap, below cost farm commodities also provide multibillion dollar gains to CAFOs (animal factories), in competition against diversified farms with resource conserving crop rotations (with more pasture and hay ground). It provides similar gains to processors of high fructose corn syrup and soybean transfats. There is a long list of the various related problems, and family farmers like me have quite a few specific problems of our own to add to it.
Almost everywhere, I find, the food movement writes and talks as if cheap corn and other farm commodities are caused by subsidies. In fact, however, subsidies are one of the problems caused by below cost commodities. Subsidies are a political result from the true policy cause: the reduction (1953-1995) and elimination (1996-) of the New Deal, nonsubsidy Commodity Title policy tools. These are: price floors with supply management (acreage reduction as needed) on the bottom side of prices, and reserve supplies with price ceilings (to trigger release as needed) on the top side.
The bottom side stops cheap corn and other export dumping. The top side addresses the occasional price spikes. Both reduce farm price volatility, and correct the known failures of the free markets. (The main farm crops lack price responsiveness on both supply and demand sides. They don’t self correct. Farm prices are, therefore usually low.)
These policies have had various names over the years. During the 1980s farm crisis they were called the Farm Policy Reform Act, the Save the Family Farm Act, The Harkin-Gephardt Farm Bill. More recently the National Family Farm Coalition has been their chief champion, with it’s Food from Family Farms Act.
Readers of my blog will already know about all of this, as will viewers of my videos. In fact, my video, “Michael Pollan Rebuttal 1: Debunking Pollan’s ‘Corn Subsidy’ Argument,” is attached to the petition at the link at the top of this blog. (Part 2 of that video can be found here.)
My petition enables you to take action inside our movement on this issue. That’s the first step. Basically, as I ask Pollan in the petition, how can our huge food movement effectively influence Congress and the President to do the right thing, if we ourselves do not understand what the needed policies are? How can we win, if we advocate for policies that, in fact, cause the very problems we claim to oppose? (That is, by merely reducing or eliminating subsidies, without adding price floors and the other crucial policies, cheap/volatile/spiking corn continues virtually unaffected, as I prove in my videos.)
Please join me by signing my petition, (which I again link here): “MIchael Pollan: Lead the Food Movement to Corn Price Floors.”