Every five to seven years, the U.S. Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill. The complex legislation affects the nation’s food system in a variety of ways: environmentally, commercially, agriculturally, and economically. What legislators rarely pay attention to, though, is the way the Farm Bill affects our food. In addition to determining which crops entitle farmers to subsidies and for what amounts, the Farm Bill deals with things like rural development, the school lunch program and biofuel development. Recent results of U.S. agricultural policy include: U.S. taxpayers have provided more than $50 billion in subsidies to corn farmers over the past decade. Between 2003 and 2005, 66% of crop subsidies went to 10% of farmers. Over the past three decades, consumption of high fructose corn syrup has increased 1,000%. Between 1970 and 2007, the number of acres planted in corn in the U.S. increased by 39%. Between 1970 and 2007, Iowa’s average yield of corn increased 109%, rising from 86 to 180 bushels per acre. In 2007, 92.9 million acres of farmland were devoted to growing corn; in contrast, 2 million acres were planted in vegetables. It’s amazing just how central cheap corn is to our food industry, we truly are children of the corn.
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- Spring '13
- English, high-fructose corn syrup, Fructose Corn Syrup, Curtis Ellis—who