Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Healthy Food and California Get Short Shrift in Farm Bill

Environmental Working Group

An Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis highlights the skewed priorities and gross inequities in federal spending under the nation’s most far-reaching food and farm legislation.

The data show that from 2008 to 2010, spending on commodity crops under the federal farm bill totaled $39.6 billion, more than eight times as much as on specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. During that time the market value of the commodity crops (primarily corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton) was $320 billion, only twice as much as the specialty crops’ market value. Farm bill spending on specialty crops amounted to just $4.7 billion even though their market value was estimated at $170 billion.

The analysis shows that public investment has been meager on programs to support fruit and vegetable production and organic agriculture and on smart initiatives to build dynamic food economies that support agricultural diversification and link small and mid-sized family farms to local and regional markets.

“Fruit and vegetable growers have historically been left out of agriculture policy even though they provide foods that are vital for improving America’s nutrition and reducing the costly toll of diet-related diseases,” said Kari Hamerschlag, food policy senior analyst at EWG.

EWG’s data also show that California, home to 12 percent of the population and producer of 12 percent of the country’s agricultural output, receives less than 5 percent of farm bill expenditures. That puts the state’s specialty crop growers, who produce half of California’s agricultural bounty and 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, at a major disadvantage.

These following links detail farm bill funding allocations for conservation and nutrition in California and in the nation as a whole. Funding for both of these vital programs is at risk in the next farm bill.

More than 30 Democratic House members from California sent a letter this week urging the House Agriculture Committee’s leaders to expand funding for programs that promote local and regional food systems and organic farming and that support beginning and disadvantaged farmers, agricultural research and marketing.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A pangolin at a rescue center in Cambodia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Malavika Vyawahare

China has banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 2,700 lives and infected more than 81,000 people, most of them in China, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Read More
A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

Read More
Sponsored
White gold man-made diamond solitaire engagement ring. Clean Origin

While keeping track of the new trends in the diamond industry can be hard, it is still an essential task of any savvy consumer or industry observer. Whether you are looking to catch a deal on your next diamond purchase or researching the pros and cons of an investment within the diamond industry, keeping up with the trends is imperative.

Read More
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (C) chants with housing and environmental advocates before a news conference to introduce legislation to transform public housing as part of her Green New Deal outside the U.S. Capitol Nov. 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to chide Republicans for not reading the Green New Deal, which she introduced over one year ago, as The Hill reported. She then read the entire 14-page document into the congressional record.

Read More
Anti Ivan Duque's demonstrator is seen holding a placard with the photos of social leader Alirio Sánchez Sánchez and the indigenous Hector Janer Latín, both killed in Cauca, Colombia during a protest against Ivan Duque visit in London which included a meeting about fracking, environmental issues, the peace process implementation, and questioning the risk that social leaders in Colombia face. Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Colombia was the most dangerous nation in 2019 to be an environmental activist and experts suspect that conditions will only get worse.

Read More