Sample Paper 25 fact that the food surplus of cheap, non-healthy food is hurting the nation’s health. “In 2006 alone, obesity-related illness were responsible for 40 million lost work days, 63 million doctor visits, 239 million restricted activity days, and 90 million bed-bound days” (Imhoff 97). Critics believe by not providing citizens with adequate food stamp allotments, more and more Americans are forced to turn to unhealthy foods. And with the surplus of HFCS products being processed and shipped across the country because of the subsidized corn farms overproduction, there are multiple ways to supply ones self with unhealthful foods. Enemies of the farm bill feel that without provisions and limitations set on what types of byproducts, such as HCFS, are going into our foods the trend towards bad health will continue. The opponents of this bill maintain that something must be done in legislation to improve the nutrition Americans are receiving, whether that is through a Food Stamp program or from the local grocery store. Issue 3: “environment” Lastly, detractors of the farm bill also argue that the issue of the environment is not being addressed properly or adequately through the legislation. Critics argue that a healthy, sustainable environment is essential to produce crops and goods at the rate and efficiency this nation currently does. In the book Foodfight , Imhoff explains that “forest, pasture, range, and crop lands make up nearly two-thirds of the country’s contiguous landmass” (120). Every year, “1.2 million acres of agricultural and forest lands are lost to development…and between 2006 and 2010 nearly 28 million acres under Conservation Reserve program
Sample Paper 26 contracts will expire; their future is uncertain” (Imhoff 121). In addition to this, “public lands are being exploited for resource extraction, grazing, timbering, off-road recreation, and other harmful activities” (Imhoff 121). Erosion is a large concern to farmers and the average annual erosion rate on land used for row crops and small grains (the majority of crops grown in the U.S.) is 8 tons per acre (Knutson, Penn, and Boehm 331). Peggy Barlett, author of American Dreams, Rural Realities, notes that, “mechanization has put consistent pressure on soil structure, and problems with soil compaction and erosion have increased with each new development of heavier and larger machinery” (63). In addition to that, “raising enough corn to add one pound of meat to a cow depletes 100 pounds of soil” (Pyle 108). “In California alone, an estimated 125,000 acres of irrigated fields, pasture, and other rural lands are developed each year,” which causes critics to question what is being done to save the very environment that provides this country its crops.
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- Spring '09